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USL Western Conference Best XI - Week 15

A keeper rises to the top of the rankings as the middle of the season looms.

In a fairly unusual week, points were spread out very evenly over all players, allowing many players to appear on the Team of the Week with a lower than normal point total. We were however fortunate enough to see the first time a goalkeeper took home the top ranking of the week since all the way back in the third week of the season.

Goalkeeper: Josh Cohen – Phoenix Rising, 4680 pts – Player of the Week

In a six save shutout of Reno, Cohen added a penalty kick save to preserve a clean sheet and log three straight games undefeated for Phoenix against some of the best teams the West has to offer.

Defender: Kai Greene – Rio Grande Valley Toros, 2181 pts

Greene was all over the defensive line for Rio Grande Valley, recording five clearances and four interceptions as the Toros shut out Colorado Springs on the road.

Defender: Tyler Pasher – Swope Park Rangers, 2224 pts

Pasher played all but three minutes in a week where the Rangers took home six points and only allowed a single goal. He also completed over 70% of his passes in each match.

Defender: Brian Nana-Sinkam – Seattle Sounders 2, 2247 pts

Nana-Sinkam combined for ten clearances and interceptions and won five duals as Seattle shut out Vancouver in a bounce back result.

Defender: Emrah Klimenta – Sacramento Republic, 2654 pts

Klimenta scored the opening goal of the night on the way to a 1-1 draw against a defensively strong San Antonio. He added a quarter of the team’s clearances as well.

Midfielder: Ray Saari – Seattle Sounders 2, 2321 pts

Saari scored the opening goal and won all four of his duels as Seattle took home all three points from their trip to Vancouver.

Midfielder: Carlos Alvarez – Orange County SC, 2556 pts

Alvarez scored one goal after logging five shots on goal in a wild match with Portland. He added in two created chances and won 100% of his duels in a high scoring draw.

Midfielder: Zach Mathers – Seattle Sounders 2, 2609 pts

Mathers had a goal, a created chance, and completed over 90% of his passes to earn back to back Team of the Week appearances.

Midfielder: Juan Caffa – Tulsa Roughnecks, 2667 pts

Caffa was a critical element in creating the first loss of the season for the Monarchs. He put together four shots on goal and added an assist from his five created chances in a statement win for Tulsa.

Midfielder: Villyan Bijev – Portland Timbers 2, 2712 pts

The up and coming Portland talent notched a brace, including one goal through a penalty kick, as he put up four shots on goal in a game that saw the Timber break a long losing run.

Forward: Diego Rubio – Swope Park Rangers, 2655 pts

Rubio scored the opening goal against Tulsa and won seven total duels in the first of two victories that the Rangers took home in the week.

Honorable Mentions:

Goalkeeper: Bryan Meredith – Seattle Sounders 2, 2810 pts

Defender: Modou Jadama – Tulsa Roughnecks, 2105 pts

Midfielder: Joaquin Rivas – Tulsa Roughnecks, 2014 pts

Forward: Nansel Selbol – Swope Park Rangers, 2056 pts

Thoughts:

In a week of many low scoring matches, across the board the required scored to make the team of the week were down. With only one player hitting 3000 points, it marked only the second time this USL season where the Team of the Week featured only one player hitting that landmark.

Cohen stepped up for Phoenix, however, earning the third highest rating for a goalkeeper this season, even without earning the win in a scoreless draw.

Will be see teams recover this week, or will another elite keeper performance take home the trophy? Let us know in the comments!