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MLS Team of the Week: Dempsey rises above the crowd

Eight months after returning to MLS, Clint Dempsey showed Seattle Sounders fans what the hype was all about.

The U.S. national team captain completed his hat trick with two late goals as he willed the Sounders to a 4-4 draw at the Portland Timbers on Saturday. The three goals — a composed strike, a scrappy finish and a savvy penalty kick — in 90 minutes surpassed the two he had scored in 14 prior matches since joining Seattle in August. With that standout effort, Dempsey landed a spot on the MLS Team of the Week as voted by the Goal staff.

Between the posts on the squad is Real Salt Lake backup Jeff Attinella. Filling in for the injured Nick Rimando, Attinella made a whopping eight saves as RSL salvaged a scoreless draw at Sporting Kansas City.

Also making the team from RSL is center back Nat Borchers, who helped deflect wave after wave of Sporting attacks. His partner in central defense is Matt Hedges, whose marking held Will Bruin in check as Dallas rolled to a 4-1 thrashing of rival Houston.

Mark Bloom gets the nod at right back after setting up Michael Bradley's opener as Toronto FC recorded a 2-0 triumph at previously unbeaten Columbus despite a makeshift defense. We have Kansas City's Seth Sinovic at left back after he locked down his side against RSL and also pinched into the attack effectively.

It was a banner week for defensive midfielders on the goal-scoring front, with Diego Chara of the Portland Timbers and Jose Mari of the Colorado Rapids both bagging braces. Chara celebrated his 28th birthday by scoring his first goal since September 2011, then following it up with another 46 minutes later. Mari, meanwhile, scored a pair of stunning long-range strikes just two minutes apart to give the Rapids a 2-1 comeback win at Vancouver.

Edging out Bradley for the playmaker role is FC Dallas maestro Mauro Diaz, who continued his torrid start to 2014 by assisting two goals and drawing a penalty kick versus Houston. His Dallas teammate, Je-Vaughn Watson, is also on the squad after scoring twice against the Dynamo, as well as forcing an own goal.

Flanked by Watson and Dempsey in our front line is Robbie Keane, who led the LA Galaxy's 3-0 dismantling of Chivas USA by bundling home the opening goal and helping set up Baggio Husidic's tally.

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