Both of their Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs hopes still hang in the balance, but Atlanta United and Seattle Sounders FC kept postseason aspirations alive with inspirational wins in Week 30. And now they lead the latest Team of the Week presented by Audi.
In Atlanta’s case, a 4-2 win over Toronto FC was powered by a hat trick from center back Juan Jose Purata (3g, 0a) and another golazo from midfielder Thiago Almada (1g/1a). Purata is on loan from Liga MX’s Tigres UANL and, per Opta, is the first player since at least 2010 to score three headed goals in a single MLS match. Meanwhile, Almada is on Argentina’s World Cup radar and continues to offer returns on an MLS-record incoming transfer ($16 million from Independiente).
Seattle’s 3-0 victory over Austin FC marked their second straight W, keeping the 2022 Concacaf Champions League winners within touching distance of a 14th-straight postseason trip. A brace from striker Raul Ruidiaz was the difference, while center back Yeimar Gomez Andrade was dominant in defense. Homegrown standout Danny Leyva earned a bench spot, too, after helping shore up the Rave Green’s central midfield.
Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin has his second straight TOTW nod, elevating his team to a 5-1 rout of recent US Open Cup winners Orlando City SC – vaulting them into the Supporters’ Shield lead over LAFC in the process. Center back Jack Elliott (1g, 0a) earns a starting nod and left back Kai Wagner (0g, 2a) is on the bench as the Eastern Conference leaders approach a record goal differential mark (at +46).
FC Cincinnati have two honorees, too, following a 6-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes: Brenner at striker and Luciano Acosta in midfield. Brenner (3g, 1a) notched his second hat trick of the 2022 campaign, and Acosta (1g/2a) extended his league-leading assist total to 18.
A quickfire brace from FC Dallas star Jesus Ferreira rescued a 2-1 win over LAFC, keeping the US men’s national team forward in fine form ahead of the September international window. He joins Ruidiaz and Brenner up top.
The last two midfield spots, alongside Acosta and Almada, go to LA Galaxy’s Riqui Puig and CF Montréal’s Victor Wanyama – both of whom shaped the whole game from start to finish. Puig’s 99th-minute penalty kick salvaged a 1-1 draw at Nashville SC, while Wanyama’s 89th-minute goal started a 2-2 comeback tie vs. the Columbus Crew that clinched his team an East playoff spot.
Lastly, the goalkeeper spot belongs to Aljaz Ivacic of the Portland Timbers. His five-save shutout was crucial in a 1-0 victory over Minnesota United FC, continuing the Rose City side’s climb up the Western Conference table.
Team of the Week (3-4-3, left to right): Aljaz Ivacic (POR) – Jack Elliott (PHI), Juan Jose Purata (ATL), Yeimar Gomez Andrade (SEA) – Riqui Puig (LA), Victor Wanyama (MTL), Luciano Acosta (CIN), Thiago Almada (ATL) – Brenner (CIN), Raul Ruidiaz (SEA), Jesus Ferreira (DAL)
Coach: Jim Curtin (PHI)
Bench: David Ochoa (DC), Adilson Malanda (CLT), Kai Wagner (PHI), Danny Leyva (SEA), Cristian Casseres Jr. (RBNY), Jhon Duran (CHI), Gyasi Zardes (COL)
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 $500 into the Audi Goals Drive Progress fund to directly support each MLS Club Youth Academy.