When your teams combine to win 13-0 as Heineken Rivalry Week gets underway, that’s a fantastic recipe to headline Week 19's Team of the Week presented by Audi.
The Philadelphia Union deserve some extra highlighting after their 7-0 win over D.C. United matched the largest margin of victory in MLS history. For their contributions, striker Julian Carranza (hat trick) and midfielder Alejandro Bedoya (brace) both earned starting spots among the week’s elite.
The Portland Timbers weren’t far off, beating arch-rivals Seattle Sounders FC, 3-0, on the road as a five-game unbeaten run powers the MLS Cup 2021 hosts up the Western Conference table. Giovanni Savarese gets top coaching honors, and striker Jaroslaw Niezgoda stayed red-hot with a goal and an assist.
Meanwhile, Austin FC went to Atlanta United and secured a 3-0 victory behind a second consecutive one-goal, one-assist performance from winger Ethan Finlay. Goalkeeper Brad Stuver’s four-save shutout kept the Supporters’ Shield contenders within striking distance of LAFC.
Speaking of LAFC, midfielder Jose Cifuentes’ brace powered a 3-2 El Trafico win over the LA Galaxy for the league leaders. And the midfield group is rounded out by Derrick Etienne Jr. (Columbus Crew) after his brace and second-half substitute introduction kickstarted a 3-2 comeback victory at Chicago Fire FC.
Aside from Carranza and Niezgoda, the last striker spot goes to New York City FC’s Taty Castellanos after recording his second straight brace in a 4-2 win over the New England Revolution. He’s now got five goals in his last three games to claim the Golden Boot presented by Audi race’s top spot.
Lastly, the backline features three goal-scorers who chipped in plenty defensively as well: Christian Fuchs (Charlotte FC), Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo FC) and Lalas Abubakar (Colorado Rapids). Fuchs’ penalty kick got a 4-1 win over Nashville SC rolling; Hadebe’s 101st-minute equalizer in a wild 2-2 Texas Derby draw with FC Dallas was the latest non-penalty goal in MLS history; and Abubakar’s acrobatic finish sealed a 2-2 draw at Real Salt Lake in the Rocky Mountain Cup.
Team of the Week (3-4-3, left to right): Brad Stuver (ATX) – Christian Fuchs (CLT), Teenage Hadebe (HOU), Lalas Abubakar (COL) – Ethan Finlay (ATX), Jose Cifuentes (LAFC), Alejandro Bedoya (PHI), Derrick Etienne Jr. (CLB) – Julian Carranza (PHI), Taty Castellanos (NYC), Jaroslaw Niezgoda (POR)
Coach: Giovanni Savarese (POR)
Bench: Aljaz Ivavic (POR), Jack Elliott (PHI), Cesar Araujo (ORL), Roger Espinoza (SKC), Jonathan Osorio (TOR), Carlos Vela (LAFC), Cucho Hernandez (CLB)
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.