Club-record signings potentially turned a corner during Matchday 10, riding strong performances into the ensuing Team of the Matchday presented by Audi.
Evander scored from the spot and was the Portland Timbers’ creative hub in a 2-1 win at St. Louis CITY SC, reinforcing why the Cascadian club spent a reported $10 million to acquire the Brazilian playmaker from Danish top-flight side FC Midtjylland last December.
Orlando City SC midfielder Facundo Torres, playing centrally instead of on the wing, stepped up in a 2-0 win over the LA Galaxy with his second goal of the season. The Uruguayan World Cup veteran, signed from Peñarol two offseasons ago for a reported $7.5 million transfer fee and $1.5 million in bonuses, hadn’t scored since Matchday 1.
Other big-name attackers answered the bell over the weekend, including Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar. The reigning Landon Donovan MLS MVP and Golden Boot presented by Audi winner had two assists and set up the hosts’ third in a 3-1 win over Atlanta United.
D.C. United striker Christian Benteke scored a stunning bicycle kick in a 3-0 win over Charlotte FC, giving manager Wayne Rooney flashbacks of when the Belgian international scored a similar goal in the Premier League for Liverpool against Manchester United.
Inter Miami CF striker Leonardo Campana bagged an all-critical brace in a 2-1 win at the Columbus Crew. The Ecuadorian international’s efforts ended a six-game losing skid in league play, a potential season-saving result (with some key lineup decisions) that gives Phil Neville top coaching honors in Matchday 10.
CF Montréal midfielder Mathieu Choinière earned his second straight Team of the Matchday nod. The Canadian international tallied 1g/1a in a 2-0 win at Sporting Kansas City, helping his hometown club slowly emerge from their difficult start to the season.
New York Red Bulls left back John Tolkin’s fourth assist of the season salvaged a 1-1 draw at Chicago Fire FC, and Toronto FC right back Richie Laryea’s assist (fourth goal contribution of the year) helped his side earn a 1-0 win over New York City FC.
FC Cincinnati center back Yerson Mosquera’s second goal of the year helped secure a 1-1 draw at the New England Revolution in a clash of top-of-the-East clubs. This week’s other center back, Nashville’s Walker Zimmerman, had an assist vs. Atlanta in another lockdown performance from the two-time MLS Defender of the Year.
Lastly, Vancouver Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka notched his fourth straight league shutout in a 0-0 draw with the Colorado Rapids. Crucially, the Japanese newcomer denied Diego Rubio’s penalty kick in the second half.
Team of the Matchday (4-4-2, left to right): Yohei Takaoka (VAN) - John Tolkin (RBNY), Yerson Mosquera (CIN), Walker Zimmerman (NSH), Richie Laryea (TOR) - Evander (POR), Mathieu Choinière (MTL), Hany Mukhtar (NSH), Facundo Torres (ORL) - Leonardo Campana (MIA), Christian Benteke (DC)
Coach: Phil Neville (MIA)
Bench: Djordje Petrovic (NE), Victor Pálsson (DC), Franco Negri (MIA), Brayan Vera (RSL), Cristhian Paredes (POR), Lucas Zelarayán (CLB), Cristian Espinoza (SJ), Ercan Kara (ORL), CJ Sapong (TOR)
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.