5. Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)
It's been a challenging season for Brad Guzan, to put it mildly. For the second consecutive season, he has endured a lengthy demotion from Aston Villa's starting GK job, and his club's eventual relegation seems all but a formality now.
On Saturday vs Tottenham Hotspur, Guzan started his third consecutive Premier League match following a two-month spell as the backup. In one of his best performances of the season, he'd turn away six shots, several of the spectacular variety. This two-footed kick save helped keep Spurs off the board midway through the opening half:
Yes, a goalkeeper can play well in a losing effort, and that would be the case in this one, as the Villans did ultimately fall 2-0 behind a Harry Kane brace. The silver lining from a USMNT perspective is that Guzan has wrestled back the starting job and appears to be in solid form just in time for this month's World Cup Qualifiers. Bet on him getting the call on March 25 vs. Guatemala.
4. Bobby Wood (Union Berlin)
Another game, another goal for Bobby Wood in Germany.
On Saturday vs. Duisburg, Wood put his name on the scoresheet for the fifth consecutive game. He'd open the scoring in the 61st minute with this confident strike down the middle from the penalty spot:
It would mark his 8th goal in his past seven league matches, bringing his total to 13 on the season, good enough for third in the 2.Bundesliga. Union Berlin would let this result get away though, falling 2-1, and remains firmly mid-table in 10th place.
With Jozy Altidore still on the shelf with a hamstring injury, Wood's scoring binge just might put him in contention to start for Jürgen Klinsmann in about 10 days time.
3. William Yarbrough (Club León)
For the second consecutive week, William Yarbrough earns a spot in this week's Top 5. By no small coincidence, he posted an impressive clean sheet for the second consecutive week.
On Saturday night, Yarbrough made five saves in León's 2-0 win vs. Querétaro. The game remained scoreless until the 72nd minute, thanks in part to this great reaction save on a 29th minute free kick attempt:
The shutout was Yarbrough's fourth in the 2016 Clausura season (thru 10 games), tied for most in Liga MX. And he continues to make a very strong case to reclaim a spot on Klinsmann's next roster.
2. César Romero (Coras de Tepic)
Where in the world is César Romero? Following stops in Armenia and Macedonia, the former Chivas USA striker now plies his trade in the Ascenso, Mexico's second division. Last Tuesday night, the 2014-15 Armenian Premier League Golden Boot winner would open his account with Coras de Tepic in a big way.
In the Copa MX group stage finale vs. Murcielagos FC, Romero entered the match as a substitute in the 59th minute. It'd go to the dying seconds of stoppage time tied 2-2, with Coras needing a goal to win Group 2 and secure advancement to the Knockout Round.
Cue Mr. Romero:
On the final kick of the game, Romero's first goal of the season sent Coras into the quarterfinals, and sent the home Tepic supporters into a frenzy.
Coras next faces fellow Ascenso MX side Atlético San Luis on Thursday.
1. John Brooks (Hertha Berlin)
It may not be often that player earns the top spot in this space without scoring a goal or two, but John Brooks demanded our attention this week with a stalwart defensive performance.
Brooks was outstanding on Saturday, as third-place Hertha Berlin hosted fourth-place Schalke 04 in a critical Bundesliga battle for Champions League positions. He got in done in the air, on the ground, and everywhere in between. Witness this lunging interception in the 22nd minute that denied a dangerous through-ball into the box:
That was one of three such interceptions on the day, to go along with seven clearances, two blocked shots, and 90% (43/48) passing efficiency. Brooks' efforts helped secure a clean sheet for Hertha Berlin and a massive 2-0 victory. With eight games remaining in the season, Hertha keeps its hold on 3rd place and inches ever closer to securing a berth in the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League.