Dec. 04, 2016
MLS Aces Team of the Conference Finals
GK: Stefan Frei SEA
Of all four keepers that played in the MLS conference finals Stefan Frei is the only one to pick up two wins in both of his games. He did a phenomenal job in net holding the Rapids to only one goal in both of their games. He was heavily tested as well, as Frei had to record six saves total to help the Sounders win and advance to MLS Cup.
DEF: Nick Hagglund TFC
Hagglund has quietly been the best defender for TFC these playoffs. Now, I will say that picking a defender from a series that saw twelve goals in hard to justify but hear me out. Hagglund in the first game of the series was a rock in the middle of the field. He plays a very strong centerback position and can even bump out to a fullback position when Morrow and Beitashour push up field. He is a constant threat on set pieces and crosses, which he showed in the second leg scoring off of a Morrow cross. Watch for him in MLS Cup.
DEF: Roman Torres SEA
I like the view Roman Torres more of a team leader and spark plug for this Sounders defense. He seems to be involved in all plays and doesn`t get beat off. With Torres finally healthy and constantly in the lineup this Sounders backline seems unbeatable. Torres may pick up a card here in there but all of that doesn`t matter now, its MLS Cup and he will be there trying to disrupt the likes of Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore.
DEF: Chad Marshall SEA
This guy does his job. There isn`t much more you can say about Marshall rather than that. He is a very large and very tough centerback. He will get in the way of shots, head away crosses, and play extremely physical on opposing attackers. Marshall seems to do this every game and will rarely make a mistake. This MLS veteran is ready to make his mark in MLS Cup.
DEF: Ambroise Oyongo MON
Here is another defender from the Toronto-Montreal series but I swear he deserves to be here as well. Oyongo is fast, really really fast. He was burning the Toronto FC defense and getting plenty of chances to shoot and make things happen on offense. He scored a goal in the first leg of the series. His speed also allows him to get back on defense and make up for any mistake he might make (USMNT fans think of him as a type of Deandre Yedlin). Oyongo has been reportedly scouted by some teams overseas and that is well deserving for the show he put on in the Eastern Conference Finals.
MID: Patrice Bernier MON
Patrice Bernier has been a constant for Montreal over these past few seasons and he sure was an impact (no pun intended) for them this series. Bernier isn`t normally a play maker but in this series he did just that. He was pushing up the field a bit more than he normally would and his passing was great. After both legs were complete Bernier recorded two assists and had two great games at the young age of 37.
MID: Michael Bradley TFC
The captain. Michael Bradley had himself a very nice Eastern Conference Finals both offensively and defensively. In the first leg, Bradley scored a goal that turned out to be much needed due to the aggregate score. But his impact as a captain and defender is where his true value lied. Bradley is a very good defender and I think is the best in the league when he sits right about that backline. Bradley may not always end up on the score sheet but I`m sure if you ask any TFC player who the most impactful player is, they would say their captain.
MID: Jermaine Jones COL
Jermaine Jones proved in these conference finals that he can still play at a high level in professional soccer. He was forced to push up the middle field and act as a number ten. Jones was testing Stefan Frei in both legs and was able to set up plays for Kevin Doyle and Shkelzen Gashi. Jones could perfectly fit in on any team in MLS at multiple positions.
MID: Nicolas Lodiero SEA
Nicolas Lodiero has turned around the Seattle Sounders season. Lodiero had a stellar two game series against the Rapids. The Rapids had the best defense in the league and Lodiero was able to create plays and break through that fortress. In Seattle, Lodiero scored a goal that gave them a 2-1 win in the first leg. Lodiero failed to make it into the box score in the second leg but trust me his impact wasn`t missed. He is an amazing passer and set up opportunities for all his teammates to succeed.
FOR: Jozy Altidore TFC
Nobody had a better conference finals than Jozy Altidore. In the first leg of the Eastern Conference Finals Jozy scored the first of two Toronto goals and assisted on the second. He was a factor on those two important away goals for the club. The series turned to Toronto when Jozy continued his dominant ways. Jozy scored in the 45th minute to give TFC the lead. He would also assist on the last goal of the game in the 100th minute to Tosaint Ricketts.
FOR: Jordan Morris SEA
Jordan Morris had two amazing games to lead the Sounders to MLS Cup. In his first game, he scored in the 19th minute tying the game for Seattle. He used his pace and physicality to challenge the extremely tough Rapids fullbacks. In the second game Morris apparently was sick with the flu. This game would eventually turn into the second most famous "Jordan Flu Game". In the second game, Morris scored the only goal in the game and delivered the final blow in what would be the first loss at home for the Rapids.
GK: Zac MacMath COL
DEF: Tyrone Mears SEA
DEF: Steven Beitashour TFC
MID: Armando Cooper TFC
MID: Ignacio Piatti MON
FOR: Dominic Oduro MON
FOR: Tosaint Ricketts TFC