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Expected Goals: Upcoming Milestones for Matchday 9

Expected Goals Header_Matchday 9

The Dynamic Duo of Gazdag and Carranza

The Philadelphia duo of Dániel Gazdag and Julián Carranza combined forces yet again on Matchday 8, as both players registered a goal in the club’s 2-1 victory over Nashville SC to keep the Union as the league’s lone unbeaten team (12 points, 3-0-3). Since becoming teammates in 2022, Gazdag and Carranza have been one of the most dynamic pairs in MLS, combining for 72 goals and 37 assists over the span.

More impressively, the duo has been incredibly productive in the same matches, as Gazdag and Carranza have scored in the same match on 15 occasions in regular-season play. If the duo scores again at Atlanta United on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV / FOX), they would become the first pair of teammates to score in 16 different games, breaking a tie with the Toronto FC pair of Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore (15 games from 2015-19).

The pairs of teammates to both score in the most games in MLS history:

Teammates to Score in Most Matches

Messi Making a Record-Setting Impact

In just four regular-season games this year, Inter Miami CF forward Lionel Messi has been every bit the playmaker that soccer fans around the world have come to know, recording four goals and four assists, including one of each in the club’s 2-2 draw against the Colorado Rapids on Matchday 8. Messi’s eight goal contributions are tied for the second-most in MLS this season, behind only Real Salt Lake’s Cristian Arango (10).

With a pair of goal contributions against Sporting Kansas City at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV), Messi would become the fourth player to register at least 10 combined goals and assists in his first five games of a season. The Argentine would join Thierry Henry (11 in 2012), Landon Donovan (10 in 2008), and Raúl Díaz Arce (10 in 1997) as the only players to accomplish the feat. Henry and Donovan were MVP finalists in their respective seasons.

The players with at least 10 goal contributions in their first five games of a season:

Messi GCs to Start

Red Bulls Look to Go 3-for-3 at Home

No team has won more games on the road since the start of the 2022 season than the New York Red Bulls (15 wins). However, in their stellar start to the 2024 season – one that has the club sitting atop the Supporters’ Shield standings through Matchday 8 – the club is roaring in front of their home faithful, winning each of their first two matches at Red Bull Arena.

With a win against Chicago Fire FC on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV), the Red Bulls would improve to 3-0-0 at home for just the third time in club history (2010, 2018). The club won the Supporters’ Shield in 2018 and finished atop the Eastern Conference in 2010.

The best three-game home starts in New York Red Bulls history:

RBNY Start to a Home Season

Carles Gil Nearing Century Contribution Mark

The 2021 Landon Donovan MLS MVP, New England Revolution midfielder Carles Gil has been one of the best playmakers in Major League Soccer since arriving in 2019, recording 35 goals and 63 assists over the span. The Spaniard added to that total by scoring the club’s lone goal in their 1-0 victory over Charlotte FC on Matchday 8.

With two contributions against New York City FC on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV), Gil would become the fourth player in Revolution history to reach 100 goal contributions, joining Taylor Twellman (129), Steve Ralston (115), and Lee Nguyen (102).

The most goal contributions by a player in New England Revolution history:

Gil 100 GCs

White Clinical from Open Play

Vancouver Whitecaps FC forward Brian White has been instrumental in the club’s strong start to 2024, tallying both a pair of goals and assists in five matches. White currently sits at 48 career regular-season goals and has accomplished the feat without having ever attempted a penalty kick in MLS play.

With his next two goals and no penalty-kick attempts, White would become the sixth player in MLS history to reach 50 or more career goals without having attempted a kick from the penalty spot. Edson Buddle holds the record with 100 career goals scored without attempting a penalty kick.

The players with the most goals scored without having attempted a penalty kick in MLS history:

50 Goals, No PKs Taken