Bouanga’s latest recognition follows Matchday 36, when his first-half hat trick powered a resounding 5-1 win over Minnesota United FC that booked the Black & Gold’s Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs ticket in the Western Conference.
After Minnesota took an early lead Wednesday evening at BMO Stadium, Bouanga scored twice on the volley (6', 36') to beat goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair. His third, in stoppage time (45+1'), came from a tight angle after some intricate dribbling.
Bouanga’s headline-grabbing performance elevated him into the Golden Boot presented by Audi lead with 17 goals, one ahead of FC Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta (16). His 17 goals are also the second-most in a single season in club history, trailing only Carlos Vela’s 34 during his Landon Donovan MVP-winning season in 2019.
With their postseason spot secured, LAFC will look to become the fourth team in league history to win consecutive MLS Cups, and the first since the LA Galaxy in 2011-12. They’re also hoping to solidify home-field advantage in the Round One Best-of-3 series when visiting Austin FC on Saturday for Matchday 37 (8:30 pm 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.