Team of the Matchday

Team of the Matchday: Acosta, Pulido bring the magic in Matchday 20

FC Cincinnati midfielder Luciano Acosta and Sporting Kansas City striker Alan Pulido are on absolute heaters, leading to Team of the Matchday presented by Audi headliner status for Matchday 20.


Acosta (1g/1a) has now scored in four of Cincy’s last five games, pacing the Supporters' Shield leader's 3-0 win over Toronto FC before yet another TQL Stadium sell-out crowd. Pulido (2g/0a) has six goals in SKC’s last four games after his brace rescued a 2-2 draw at the LA Galaxy.

Thorleifur Úlfarsson (Houston Dynamo FC) and Damir Kreilach (Real Salt Lake) bagged braces Wednesday night as well, completing the front three alongside Pulido. Úlfarsson (2g/0a) scored twice off the bench following a lengthy rain delay in Houston, extending their 4-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes. Kreilach (2g/0a) was clinical in a 3-1 win at St. Louis CITY SC, using two second-half goals to knock off the Western Conference’s top team.

Chicago Fire FC homegrown midfielder Brian Gutiérrez (0g/2a) put two chances on a platter, opening the door for a historic 2-1 win at the Portland Timbers. Philadelphia Union midfielder José Martínez (1g/0a) scored a late golazo for the ages, completing a 2-2 comeback draw at Orlando City SC. Also in midfield, New York City FC’s Gabriel Pereira (2g/0a) had two class finishes in a 2-2 draw at Atlanta United that was only spoiled by the Cityzens allowing a late equalizer.

New York Red Bulls right back Cameron Harper (1g/0a) scored the equalizer in a 2-2 draw against Charlotte FC, canceling out Ben Bender’s first-half brace for the visitors. LAFC left back Diego Palacios was fantastic on both ends in a 1-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC that vaulted the Black & Gold back into the West’s top spot.

Austin FC center back Julio Cascante (0g/2a) continues to impress after returning from injury, helping pace a 3-0 win over rivals FC Dallas following a lengthy weather delay. At goalkeeper, Roman Celentano’s four-save performance against Toronto marked his league-leading ninth shutout of the year – all as Cincy, even with a makeshift backline, became the second team in MLS history to begin a season 10W-0L-0D at home.

RSL’s Pablo Mastroeni got Coach of the Matchday honors following their league-leading fifth road win of the year, taking advantage of St. Louis missing both of their Designated Players.

Team of the Matchday (3-4-3, left to right): Roman Celentano (CIN) - Diego Palacios (LAFC), Julio Cascante (ATX), Cameron Harper (RBNY) - Gabriel Pereira (NYC), Luciano Acosta (CIN), José Martínez (PHI), Brian Gutiérrez (CHI) - Alan Pulido (SKC), Thorleifur Úlfarsson (HOU), Damir Kreilach (RSL)

Coach: Pablo Mastroeni (RSL)

Bench: Brad Stuver (ATX), Giorgio Chiellini (LAFC), Héctor Herrera (HOU), Bryce Duke (MTL), Ben Bender (CLT), Diego Luna (RSL), Mateusz Bogusz (LAFC), Diego Fagundez (ATX), Duncan McGuire (ORL)


Audi Goals Drive Progress

MLS Academies have been identified as one of the most important resources for building on-field talent in North America. Through the Audi Goals Drive Progress initiative, Audi has committed $1 million per season in an effort to advance academies league-wide, and to drive progress for the sport. For every goal scored in the regular season, Audi will contribute $200 into the Audi Goals Drive Progress fund to directly support each MLS Club Youth Academy.