Team of the Matchday

Team of the Matchday: Five Western Conference teams clinch playoffs in Matchday 36

Five Western Conference teams clinched an Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs spot in Matchday 36: Houston Dynamo FC, LAFC, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

From those clubs and elsewhere, who impressed enough to earn a Team of the Matchday presented by Audi nod?

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LAFC forward Dénis Bouanga was emphatic in a 5-1 rout of Minnesota United FC, scoring a first-half hat trick to seize the Golden Boot presented by Audi lead (17g/6a). Seattle midfielder Cristian Roldan came up clutch, volleying home a 96th-minute game-winner in a 2-1 victory over the LA Galaxy – a reminder of his quality after returning from a lingering concussion. And Vancouver's got two players in the XI – attacker Ryan Gauld (0g/1a) and fullback Richie Laryea (1g/0a) – after a 3-0 statement win over West leaders St. Louis CITY SC.

Chicago Fire FC, after a head-turning 4-1 win over Inter Miami CF, have midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri (2g/0a) and manager Frank Klopas among the honorees. Winger Maren Haile-Selassie (2g/0a) and midfielder Gastón Giménez (0g/1a) are both on the bench as Chicago rise to eighth in the East, above the playoff line.

Charlotte FC forward Karol Swiderski (2g/1a), New York Red Bulls midfielder Frankie Amaya (1g/0a), and Austin FC goalkeeper Brad Stuver (eight saves) all helped keep alive their club's postseason dreams. Swiderski scored two penalty kicks in a 3-0 rout of Toronto FC, while Amaya struck for the decisive goal in a 2-1 win that spoiled FC Cincinnati's Supporters' Shield-raising party. Stuver, for his part, backstopped a 3-0 shutout victory over D.C. United.

As the East's top-four battle unfolds, midfielder Dániel Gazdag (1g/1a) proved instrumental in a 3-2 win over Atlanta United. Columbus Crew defender Malte Amundsen (1g/0a) swept home the winner in a 2-1 victory at the New England Revolution. And Orlando City SC center back Robin Jansson helped blank Nashville SC in a 1-0 road result.

Team of the Matchday (3-4-3, left to right): Brad Stuver (ATX) - Malte Amundsen (CLB), Robin Jansson (ORL), Richie Laryea (VAN) - Cristian Roldan (SEA), Dániel Gazdag (PHI), Xherdan Shaqiri (CHI), Frankie Amaya (RBNY) - Karol Swiderski (CLT), Dénis Bouanga (LAFC), Ryan Gauld (VAN)

Coach: Frank Klopas (CHI)

Bench: Andre Blake (PHI), Lassi Lappalainen (MTL), Gastón Giménez (CHI), João Paulo (SEA), Sebastián Driussi (ATX), Maren Haile-Selassie (CHI), Diego Rossi (CLB), Tomás Chancalay (NE), Duncan McGuire (ORL)


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.