Hamid excelled during the busy trip to Portland in midweek (eight saves in the 1-0 defeat) and then received a bit more help from his teammates in the 2-1 victory over Philadelphia on Saturday. His performances routinely play a key part in United’s ability to grind out results.
Defenders: Tyrone Mears (Seattle Sounders), Kevin Ellis (Sporting Kansas City), Jeff Larentowicz (Chicago Fire), Fabinho (Philadelphia Union)
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Mears continues to impress for the Sounders with his ability to defend opposing wingers one-versus-one and join the play on the overlap. His cross prompted Clint Dempsey’s shot and Chad Barrett’s winner in the 2-1 victory over New York Red Bulls on Sunday. … Ellis combined with Matt Besler to quell any intermittent FC Dallas threat in the 4-0 victory on Friday, but his primary contribution arrived a bit further up the field. The converted fullback scored once and supplied another in the romp over FCD. … Chicago did not allow Montréal to register a shot on goal in the 3-0 victory in Bridgeview on Saturday. Larentowicz formed a steady partnership with Adailton to limit the 10-man Impact and thumped home another penalty kick to settle matters on the stroke of halftime. The Fire captain leads the team in scoring with four goal so far this season. … Fabinho received some deserved criticism early in the year for his performances, but his form over the past couple of weeks inspired Union boss Jim Curtin to retain him in the lineup. His willingness to push forward on the left at least provided Philadelphia with one viable outlet.
Midfielders: Gershon Koffie (Vancouver Whitecaps), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Harry Shipp (Chicago Fire)
Koffie stated his case for a regular starting berth with a rasping goal and a promising all-around display in Vancouver’s 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake. The key for Koffie now: influencing matches consistently while Russell Teibert presumably spends some time with Canada over the next couple of months. … Bradley served as the midfield hub once again in TFC’s 3-1 victory over San Jose on Saturday. He participated in the buildup on the third goal, but he shined as an effective distributor in the center of the park (93.2 percent passing accuracy, per Opta statistics). … Shipp set the table for Kennedy Igboananike (unfortunate to miss out this week after his best game in a Fire uniform) and sliced through the Impact time and again on Saturday. Opposing defenses must track him carefully because he is particularly adroit at finding spaces. Montréal simply didn’t do it well enough to survive.
Forwards (R to L): Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), Krisztian Nemeth (Sporting Kansas City), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
Sporting — rather unsurprisingly — places two of its front three in the side after the demolition of FC Dallas on Friday. …. Zusi announced his return from concussion with a goal and two assists to propel Sporting to the point at home. The performance could prove an important one for Zusi as he attempts to produce a consistent series of performances in this stop-start year. … Nemeth ravaged opposing defenders yet again to sustain his recent run of good form. His intelligence and his precision make him a handful to contain. At the moment, he looks like one of the signings of the season. … Giovinco also features in that category after yet another sparkling display for TFC on Saturday. His ability to assess situations and respond accordingly fuels his success. It doesn’t matter how defenders approach him at the moment. He simply finds a way through.