NEW YORK (Monday, May 22, 2023) – FC Cincinnati midfielder Luciano Acosta was voted the Major League Soccer Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire for Matchday 14 of the 2023 MLS season.
Acosta scored two goals as part of the club’s 3-2 victory in the Hell is Real derby against the rival Columbus Crew on Saturday, May 20. With the win, FC Cincinnati became the third team in MLS history to win each of their first eight home games to open a season (excluding the shootout era), joining the 2002 San Jose Earthquakes (10 consecutive wins) and 2020 Philadelphia Union (nine consecutive wins). Acosta has now scored five goals in each of the last six seasons and has contributed to 37 goals (15 goals, 22 assists) since the start of 2022. The midfielder’s brace was his first since he scored two goals for D.C. United against Atlanta United on September 2, 2018. With Cincinnati, Acosta has now totaled three goals and three assists versus the Crew in four appearances.
Cincinnati opened the scoring in the 17th minute after Dominique Badji dribbled to the end line and played a perfect cross to Acosta, who slotted his effort home from close range (Watch Here). After the Orange and Blue drew a penalty kick, the Argentine midfielder stepped up, sent the Crew goalkeeper the wrong way, and passed his shot into the net for the 2-0 advantage (Watch Here). Despite Columbus tying the game up, Acosta played a role in Cincinnati’s game-winning goal in the 67th minute as his relentless high pressing forced a turnover from the Crew goalkeeper. Once he stole the ball, Acosta found Brandon Vázquez, who squared it to Yuya Kubo and the forward then laid it off to Júnior Moreno to place his strike into the open net for the 3-2 win (Watch Here).
Since joining FC Cincinnati in 2021, Acosta has produced 54 goal contributions (22 goals, 32 assists), which is tied for the second most in MLS during that span, behind only Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar (76). With five goals now this season, Acosta is the first player in club history to score at least five goals in three different seasons. Since the start of 2017, the Argentine is the only player in the league to produce at least six different seasons with at least five goals scored. Cincinnati currently sits atop MLS in both points (30) and wins (nine), despite only playing 13 matches.
Acosta is the second-ever Cincinnati player to win MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire, joining Brenner, who did so three times in 2022 (Matchdays 17, 30, and 34). This is the third time Acosta has earned the honor in his career, but the first time since Matchday 31 of 2018 while he was with D.C. United.
Cincinnati will return to MLS play when they travel to face the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Matchday 15 on Saturday, May 27 (9:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass).
The MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire is selected each matchday of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio, and online media.