Team of the Matchday

Team of the Matchday: Houston Dynamo, Sporting KC flourish in Matchday 18

Media attention in Matchday 18 may have centered around Lionel Messi’s stated intention to join Inter Miami CF this summer. Yet players had no problem tuning out that noise, creating some tough decisions in the Team of the Matchday presented by Audi.


The attack includes three strikers who have overcome nagging injuries to lead their squads: Mason Toye (CF Montréal), Raúl Ruidíaz (Seattle Sounders FC) and Alan Pulido (Sporting Kansas City). Toye scored twice in a 4-0 win over Minnesota United FC, shushing celebrations against his old team; Ruidíaz snagged a brace himself in a 3-3 draw at Charlotte FC; and Pulido was dominant with 2g/1a in a 4-1 victory over Austin FC.

The midfield line includes four Designated Players: Douglas Costa (LA Galaxy), Héctor Herrera (Houston Dynamo FC), Carles Gil (New England Revolution) and Facundo Torres (Orlando City SC). Costa served up a delightful game-tying assist in a 1-1 draw at St. Louis CITY SC; Herrera hardly put a foot wrong (0g/1a) in a 4-0 rout of LAFC; Gil had 1g/2a as the Revs got some revenge (3-1 win) on Miami; and Torres remained red-hot with 1g/1a in a 2-0 win over the nine-man Colorado Rapids.

Three goalscorers make up the defense: Andrew Gutman (Atlanta United), Robert Castellanos (Sporting Kansas City) and Franco Escobar (Houston Dynamo FC). Gutman had 1g/1a in a 3-1 win over D.C. United; Castellanos scored his first SKC goal in their leveling of Austin; and Escobar unleashed a golazo as Houston remain supreme at home.

New York City FC goalkeeper Luis Barraza manned a four-save shutout in their 0-0 draw at Real Salt Lake, and Brendan Burke gets top coaching honors after Houston steamrolled the defending MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield champions (who are trying to keep a potential Concacaf Champions League hangover at bay). The Dynamo assistant filled in for the suspended Ben Olsen.

Team of the Matchday (3-4-3, left to right): Luis Barraza (NYC) - Andrew Gutman (ATL), Robert Castellanos (SKC), Franco Escobar (HOU) - Douglas Costa (LA), Héctor Herrera (HOU), Carles Gil (NE), Facundo Torres (ORL) - Mason Toye (MTL), Raúl Ruidíaz (SEA), Alan Pulido (SKC)

Coach: Ben Olsen (HOU)

Bench: Maarten Paes (DAL), Rudy Camacho (MTL), Tim Parker (STL), Miguel Trauco (SJ), Aidan Morris (CLB), Carlos Gruezo (SJ), Cristhian Paredes (POR), Cucho Hernández (CLB), Giorgos Giakoumakis (ATL)


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.