The Colorado Rapids began Week 24’s 20-game slate with fireworks on Tuesday and helped cap the MLS single-day scoring record (57 goals) on Saturday, pacing the latest Team of the Week presented by Audi.
Colorado’s six-point week was led, in part, by striker Gyasi Zardes’ hat trick in their 4-3 home win over Minnesota United FC, which followed a 5-4 road win against the New York Red Bulls. Back in the Western Conference’s Audi MLS Cup Playoffs race at 10th place (three points back), the Rapids have breathed life into their 2022 season – granting top coaching honors to Robin Fraser. Forward Diego Rubio (2g/2a) appears on the bench for his own efforts.
Zardes is joined up top by LAFC’s Cristian Arango, who’s now on a team-leading 11 goals after a 2g/1a performance in the Supporters’ Shield leader’s 4-1 win at Real Salt Lake. And Chicago Fire FC striker Kacper Przybylko came good on an offseason trade, at least partially, with a brace in their 3-2 win at Charlotte FC as the Eastern Conference club reaches five games unbeaten (4W-0L-1D stretch).
You can borderline write Austin FC midfielder Sebastian Driussi into the TOTW mix in pen; this time, he bagged a brace in the Verde & Black’s 3-3 home draw vs. the San Jose Earthquakes, extending his Golden Boot presented by Audi lead to 16g/7a.
The same truism applies to Columbus Crew midfielder Lucas Zelarayan, who finished with 3g/1a across a two-game week that was highlighted by their 3-2 win over reigning MLS Cup champions New York City FC.
Meanwhile, Toronto FC star Jonathan Osorio rounds out the midfield trio, as his brace ignited the Reds’ 4-3 win at Nashville SC that marked the club’s first road victory in 378 days.
Atlanta United left back Andrew Gutman’s 94th-minute winner in a 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC made him a no-brainer choice, helping spark playoff hopes for the Five Stripes. The other fullback spot goes to FC Cincinnati’s Alvaro Barreal, whose 1g/1a performance was vital in the Orange & Blue convincingly beating Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union by a 3-1 scoreline.
CF Montréal’s Joel Waterman and the New England Revolution’s Henry Kessler occupy the two center-back spots. Waterman had the 94th-minute winner in CFM’s 2-1 comeback victory at Columbus as part of a four-point week, while Kessler’s header and defensive leadership punctuated a 3-0 win at Orlando City SC that gave the reigning Supporters’ Shield winners their first victory in seven weeks.
In a match week with 79 goals scored (3.95 per game), goalkeepers weren’t grabbing many headlines. But Inter Miami CF’s Drake Callender shined in the Herons’ four-point week, posting a five-save shutout in their 1-0 midweek win at San Jose.
Team of the Week (4-3-3, left to right): Drake Callender (MIA) – Andrew Gutman (ATL), Joel Waterman (MTL), Henry Kessler (NE), Alvaro Barreal (CIN) – Lucas Zelarayan (CLB), Jonathan Osorio (TOR), Sebastian Driussi (ATX) – Cristian Arango (LAFC), Gyasi Zardes (COL), Kacper Przybylko (CHI)
Coach: Robin Fraser (COL)
Bench: Djordje Petrovic (NE), Ranko Veselinovic (VAN), Xherdan Shaqiri (CHI), Lorenzo Insigne (TOR), Santiago Moreno (POR), Diego Rubio (COL), William Agada (SKC)
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.