With a world-class hat trick that fueled the Black & Gold's 3-0 win over Austin FC, the Gabon international sent his rising stock even higher in Matchday 7. Bouanga's three-goal output at BMO Stadium included a long-range finish and two stunning volleys for yet another masterful performance this season from the 28-year-old forward.
In six league appearances in 2023, Bouanga has produced six goals and two assists – not to mention 5g/1a in Concacaf Champions League play. Saturday's hat trick was his first in MLS and his second this year, the previous arriving last month in CCL.
Bouanga is tied for second in MLS with eight goal contributions, trailing only Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada (nine), and is second in the Golden Boot presented by Audi race, only outdone by Seattle Sounders FC's Jordan Morris. His 1.18 goals per 90 minutes average is tied for third-best among qualifying players.
He also becomes LAFC's first Player of the Matchday recipient since fellow Designated Player Carlos Vela in Matchday 1 of the 2022 season. Last year's MLS Cup-Supporters' Shield double winners are the only club in MLS to have at least one Player of the Matchday honoree in each of the last six seasons (2018-23).
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.