The Herons’ 2-0 win at the New York Red Bulls included goals from midfielder Diego Gómez and Messi, whose otherworldly talent was on full display during his second-half substitute appearance and MLS regular-season debut.
Tata Martino gets top coaching honors as Miami reach nine games unbeaten (6W-0L-3D) across all competitions since Messi’s club debut in mid-July. Now, IMCF hope this latest result jumpstarts their climb up the Eastern Conference table into the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs field.
Atlanta's 4-0 beatdown of Nashville SC included a man-of-the-match performance from midfielder Thiago Almada (1g/2a) amid transfer links to Eredivisie powerhouse side Ajax. Center back Miles Robinson (1g/0a) anchored a shutout, while winger Xande Silva (1g/1a) scored his first MLS goal and played provider for Almada.
Sporting Kansas City have three picks – winger Johnny Russell (1g/1a), midfielder Nemanja Radoja (0g/2a) and goalkeeper Tim Melia (PK save) – after a 3-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes improves their Western Conference playoff outlook.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC started their lengthy road swing on a high note, riding the brilliance of midfielder Ryan Gauld (2g/1a) and striker Brian White (1g/1a) to a 3-2 win at Cascadia rival Portland Timbers.
Supporters’ Shield-leading FC Cincinnati bounced back with a 3-0 win over New York City FC, thanks in large part to midfielder Luciano Acosta (0g/2a). Orlando City SC winger Facundo Torres (2g/0a) was just as impactful, powering a 2-1 win over West-leading St. Louis CITY SC.
Team of the Matchday (3-4-3, left to right): Tim Melia (SKC) - Nkosi Tafari (DAL), George Campbell (MTL), Miles Robinson (ATL) - Ryan Gauld (VAN), Thiago Almada (ATL), Luciano Acosta (CIN), Diego Gómez (MIA) - Johnny Russell (SKC), Brian White (VAN), Facundo Torres (ORL)
Coach: Tata Martino (MIA)
Bench: Roman Celentano (CIN), Jakob Glesnes (PHI), Julian Gressel (CLB), Nemanja Radoja (SKC), Ashley Westwood (CLT), Aliyu Ibrahim (HOU), Douglas Costa (LA), Xande Silva (ATL), Lionel Messi (MIA)
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.