Several of MLS's biggest stars strengthened their Best XI presented by Continental Tire case in Matchday 33, earning Team of the Matchday presented by Audi spots – all while four clubs booked an Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs place and the Wild Card races had plenty of movement.
Cucho Hernández scored his second hat trick in three games, booking the Columbus Crew’s postseason spot after a 3-0 rout of Chicago Fire FC. St. Louis CITY SC goalkeeper Roman Bürki (two saves) commanded his eighth clean sheet of the year, anchoring a 0-0 draw with LAFC as the expansion side punched the first Western Conference playoff ticket.
LA Galaxy striker Billy Sharp kept playoff hopes alive by scoring a hat trick in a 4-3 comeback win over Minnesota United FC, a match where Loons winger Bongokuhle Hlongwane (2g/0a) shined in defeat. FC Dallas, led by Jesús Ferreira (2g/0a), jumped above Minnesota into the West’s ninth-and-final postseason slot after a 3-1 comeback win at Real Salt Lake.
Inter Miami CF winger Robert Taylor (2g/1a) capitalized on his early substitute appearance for Lionel Messi in a 4-0 rout of Toronto FC, and FC Cincinnati left back Álvaro Barreal was a two-way force as the Supporters’ Shield leaders drew 1-1 at CF Montréal.
Nashville SC snapped out of their funk with a 3-0 win at Sporting Kansas City, fueled by superstar Hany Mukhtar (1g/1a) and center back Jack Maher (1g/0a). Lastly, Houston Dynamo FC halted red-hot Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a 4-1 home victory – prompting TotM spots for midfielder Héctor Herrera (1g/1a), defender Griffin Dorsey (1g/0a) and head coach Ben Olsen.
Team of the Matchday (3-4-3, left to right): Roman Bürki (STL) - Álvaro Barreal (CIN), Jack Maher (NSH), Griffin Dorsey (HOU) - Robert Taylor (MIA), Héctor Herrera (HOU), Hany Mukhtar (NSH), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (MIN) - Cucho Hernández (CLB), Billy Sharp (LA), Jesús Ferreira (DAL)
Coach: Ben Olsen (HOU)
Bench: Maarten Paes (DAL), Sergi Palencia (LAFC), João Paulo (SEA), Christian Paredes (POR), Gabriel Pirani (DC), Riqui Puig (LA), Quinn Sullivan (PHI), Facundo Farías (MIA), Talles Magno (NYC)
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.