Atlanta United and Austin FC returned to the win column with confidence during Matchday 13, leading the 2023 MLS season's first midweek Team of the Matchday presented by Audi.
Atlanta, after a 4-0 rout of the Colorado Rapids snapped a three-game losing skid, have two players in the starting XI: Luiz Araújo (1g/0a) was a constant threat from his winger position, and Brooks Lennon (0g/2a) created chance after chance from right back. The Five Stripes have two Designated Players on the substitute’s bench, too: midfielder Thiago Almada (1g/0a) scored yet another free-kick golazo, this time atoning for a missed penalty kick, and striker Giorgos Giakoumakis (1g/0a) had an inspiring performance off the substitute’s bench.
Austin became the latest struggling Western Conference team to get a bounceback win at Seattle Sounders FC, ending an eight-game winless stretch (0W-4L-4D) with a 2-1 victory at Lumen Field. That win, Austin’s first since March 11, gives Josh Wolff top coaching honors and a starting forward spot to veteran Ethan Finlay (1g/1a).
Two players had braces (2g/0a) in a 2-1 comeback victory at home: FC Dallas striker Jesús Ferreira and Charlotte FC midfielder Brandon Cambridge. Ferreira stayed red-hot vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC to move into second in the Golden Boot presented by Audi race, while Cambridge announced himself to MLS with a heroic showing vs. Chicago Fire FC.
Minnesota United FC attacker Bongokuhle Hlongwane (1g/0a) was the difference in a 1-0 win over Houston Dynamo FC, giving the Loons their first home victory of the 2023 campaign. Then in central midfield, Keaton Parks (New York City FC) and Luciano Acosta (FC Cincinnati) were game-changers in Eastern Conference matchups. Parks was everywhere in a 1-1 draw at Orlando City SC, while Acosta (1g/0a) was definitive in a 3-0 win over CF Montréal that vaulted Cincy atop the Supporters’ Shield race.
Two defenders, both of whom were traded just before the Primary Transfer Window closed, scored crucial goals for their new clubs: Columbus Crew left back Malte Amundsen and Nashville SC center back Lukas MacNaughton. Amundsen’s sealed a 2-0 win over the LA Galaxy, while MacNaughton’s was the difference in a 2-1 win over Inter Miami CF.
Lastly, Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese produced five saves that were crucial in the Lions securing a home point.
Team of the Matchday (3-4-3, left to right): Pedro Gallese (ORL) - Malte Amundsen (CLB), Lukas MacNaughton (NSH), Brooks Lennon (ATL) - Brandon Cambridge (CLT), Keaton Parks (NYC), Luciano Acosta (CIN), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (MIN) - Ethan Finlay (ATX), Jesús Ferreira (DAL), Luiz Araújo (ATL)
Coach: Josh Wolff (ATX)
Bench: Andre Blake (PHI), Jan Sobociński (CLT), Richie Laryea (TOR), John Tolkin (RBNY), Obinna Nwobodo (CIN), Thiago Almada (ATL), Kwadwo Opoku (LAFC), Johnny Russell (SKC), Giorgos Giakoumakis (ATL)
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.