Matchday 3 was especially fruitful for Atlanta United, LAFC and St. Louis CITY SC – meaning their imprints are all over the ensuing Team of the Matchday presented by Audi.
Atlanta’s 3-0 win at Charlotte FC included a breakout performance from homegrown Caleb Wiley, as the 18-year-old winger had two goals and one assist in a memorable first-half performance. US men’s national team center back Miles Robinson was steady as ever for Atlanta, showing he’s recovered from the ruptured Achilles tendon (suffered last May) that kept him out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
LAFC stormed to a 4-0 win over the visiting New England Revolution on Sunday, paced mainly by Dénis Bouanga’s incredible stretch. The Gabon international forward posted two goals and one assist, building off his midweek hat-trick at Costa Rican side Alajuelense in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16. Slight squad rotation ensured midfielder Timothy Tillman grabbed his first MLS start, and the offseason arrival nabbed a late goal while showing his Bundesliga-heavy background during a head-turning two-way performance.
St. Louis notched another comeback road victory, beating Portland Timbers 2-1 to become the first MLS expansion team to win their first three games since the 2009 Seattle Sounders. Center back Kyle Hiebert got the game-winning goal and continues to thrive upon being promoted from MLS NEXT Pro, while head coach Bradley Carnell deserves full honors for his squad further defying expectations.
The last forward spot belongs to Cristian Espinoza (San Jose Earthquakes) after his late, deflected goal earned a 1-0 win over the visiting Colorado Rapids. The last defensive spot went to center back Andrés Reyes (New York Red Bulls), whose corner-kick header salvaged a 1-1 draw at Minnesota United FC on a snow-filled evening.
Aside from Tillman, the other three midfielders are Designated Player Obinna Nwobodo (FC Cincinnati) and homegrowns Chris Durkin (D.C. United) and Owen Wolff (Austin FC). Nwobodo was dominant in his No. 6 role during Cincy’s marquee 1-0 win over Seattle, while Durkin’s late equalizer saved a 1-1 home draw against Orlando City SC. Wolff had one goal and one assist in a bounceback 2-1 win at Real Salt Lake after some CCL woes, and the 18-year-old became part of the eighth father-son duo to score in MLS.
LA Galaxy’s Jonathan Bond was the no-brainer goalkeeper pick, making 11 saves in a 0-0 draw at Sporting Kansas City.
Team of the Matchday (3-4-3, left to right): Jonathan Bond (LA) - Kyle Hiebert (STL), Andrés Reyes (RBNY), Miles Robinson (ATL) - Chris Durkin (DC), Obinna Nwobodo (CIN), Timothy Tillman (LAFC), Owen Wolff (ATX) - Caleb Wiley (ATL), Dénis Bouanga (LAFC), Cristian Espinoza (SJ)
Coach: Bradley Carnell (STL)
Bench: Drake Callender (MIA), Sebastien Ibeagha (DAL), Jon Gallagher (ATX), Aidan Morris (CLB), Keaton Parks (NYC), Jared Stroud (STL), Jacob Shaffelburg (NSH), Joaquín Torres (PHI), Brenner (CIN)
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.