Team of the Matchday

Team of the Matchday: FC Cincinnati's Luciano Acosta shows MVP credentials

FC Cincinnati are the first Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs-bound team, giving them prime real estate in the Team of the Matchday presented by Audi for Matchday 29.

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The Supporters’ Shield leaders earned a 2-1 comeback win at Atlanta United, fueled by Landon Donovan MLS MVP candidate Luciano Acosta (1g/1a) now leading the league in goal contributions (24). Left back Álvaro Barreal (0g/1a) notched the all-decisive assist, and head coach Pat Noonan has his group on pace for a new single-season points record (74).

Houston Dynamo FC midfielder Héctor Herrera (0g/1a) is now tied atop the MLS assist leaderboard (13), providing the backbone for a 2-0 win over the Columbus Crew. LA Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig (1g/0a) scored for a third straight game across all competitions, sparking a 3-2 comeback win at California Clásico rival San Jose Earthquakes. Meanwhile, Minnesota United FC midfielder Emanuel Reynoso (2g/0a) ensured a 3-0 win over the struggling Colorado Rapids and a rare home three points for the Loons. 

Toronto FC forward Deandre Kerr (1g/1a) inspired a 3-1 surprise victory over the Philadelphia Union, giving the Reds a bump after longtime Canadian men’s national team manager John Herdman was recently announced as their new head coach. The Portland Timbers still face an uphill climb into the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs, but Santiago Moreno (1g/1a) kept hopes alive in a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake.

Inter Miami CF center back Kamal Miller was immense in a 0-0 draw with Nashville SC, leaving Tata Martino calling him “the best player on the field.” New York City FC newcomer Birk Risa (0g/1a) showed promise in a 2-0 win over CF Montréal, and Matt Polster expertly deputized at right back in the New England Revolution’s 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls

Lastly, Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei made several head-turning stops (five overall) to help earn a sorely-needed 2-1 win at Austin FC.

Team of the Matchday (4-4-2, left to right): Stefan Frei (SEA) - Álvaro Barreal (CIN), Kamal Miller (MIA), Birk Risa (NYC), Matt Polster (NE) - Riqui Puig (LA), Luciano Acosta (CIN), Héctor Herrera (HOU), Emanuel Reynoso (MIN) - Deandre Kerr (TOR), Santiago Moreno (POR)

Coach: Pat Noonan (CIN)

Bench: Elliot Panicco (NSH), Josh Yaro (STL), Juan Mosquera (POR), Alonso Coello (TOR), Brian Anunga (NSH), Eduard Löwen (STL), Nicolás Lodeiro (SEA), Ryan Gauld (VAN), Lorenzo Insigne (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.