Team of the Matchday

Team of the Matchday: MVP attackers & star defenders seize the spotlight

Team of the Matchday presented by Audi for Matchday 6 includes two past MVP honorees (of two different varieties), two previous MLS Defender of the Year winners, and several young standouts who are becoming household names.

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Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar was the 2022 Landon Donovan MLS MVP, and he provided one goal and one assist in a 2-0 road win at Orlando City SC. Nashville and US men’s national team center back Walker Zimmerman, the 2020 and 2021 MLS Defender of the Year, was lockdown in that bounceback road victory.

Columbus Crew attacker Lucas Zelarayán, the 2020 MLS Cup MVP presented by Audi, pulled the strings with 1g/1a in a 4-0 rout of Real Salt Lake after returning from international duty with Armenia. Columbus homegrown midfielder Aidan Morris, 21, scored his first career brace as he strengthens his USMNT case and thrives under new manager Wilfried Nancy.

Philadelphia Union center back Jakob Glesnes, the 2022 MLS Defender of the Year, continued his phenomenal form in a 0-0 home draw with Sporting Kansas City. Glesnes and Zimmerman feature alongside FC Cincinnati’s Yerson Mosquera after the 21-year-old center back, who’s on loan from English Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers, scored a corner-kick header in their 1-0 win over Inter Miami CF.

Aside from Mukhtar, Morris and Zelarayan, Charlotte FC’s Kamil Józwiak appears in the midfield. The Polish international, a much-criticized Designated Player, produced 1g/1a in a 2-2 comeback draw at Toronto FC that helped cancel out an Olimpico strike from Federico Bernardeschi.

The attacking line includes two emerging youngsters who were reserves in the not-too-distant past: Seattle Sounders FC winger Léo Chú (22) and Vancouver Whitecaps FC striker Simon Becher (23). Chú, signed as a U22 Initiative player from Brazilian side Grêmio, continued his fantastic form with 1g/1a in a 2-1 win at the LA Galaxy. Becher, a mid-first-round 2022 SuperDraft pick who spent last year in MLS NEXT Pro, had 2g/1a in a 5-0 rout of 10-man CF Montréal at BC Place.

The last attacking spot belongs to San Jose Earthquakes winger Cristian Espinoza after his two penalty kicks powered a 2-1 home win over Houston Dynamo FC. Lastly, Minnesota United FC’s Dayne St. Clair has the goalkeeper spot following a timely three-save shutout during a 1-0 win at league-leading St. Louis CITY SC. That result ended STL’s record-breaking, five-games-unbeaten start to life in MLS.

Team of the Matchday (3-4-3, left to right): Dayne St. Clair (MIN) - Yerson Mosquera (CIN), Jakob Glesnes (PHI), Walker Zimmerman (NSH) - Lucas Zelarayán (CLB), Aidan Morris (CLB), Hany Mukhtar (NSH), Kamil Jozwiak (CLT) - Léo Chú (SEA), Simon Becher (VAN), Cristian Espinoza (SJ)

Coach: Wilfried Nancy (CLB)

Bench: Stefan Frei (SEA), Michael Boxall (MIN), Álvaro Barreal (CIN), Ali Ahmed (VAN), Carles Gil (NE), Federico Bernardeschi (TOR), Jordan Morris (SEA), Franck Boli (POR), 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.