Team of the Matchday

Team of the Week presented by Audi: Conference-leading LAFC, Philadelphia shine in Week 25

LAFC (Western Conference) and the Philadelphia Union (Eastern Conference) showed why they’re atop their respective portions of the MLS table through Week 25, leading the latest Team of the Week presented by Audi.


The Black & Gold whooped expansion side Charlotte FC 5-0 at home, led by Jose Cifuentes tallying one goal and one assist in a dominant midfield performance. Head coach Steve Cherundolo mans the sidelines after LAFC’s sixth straight victory, one that came without Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini due to load management concerns.

Philadelphia resoundingly returned into the 'W' column on Saturday, cruising to a 4-1 win over Chicago Fire FC. Julian Carranza had one goal and one assist in his continued breakout season, while center back Jack Elliott scored while also leading the league’s top defense (19 goals allowed this year).

The winger spots belong to Samuel Grandsir (LA Galaxy) and Alan Velasco (FC Dallas). Grandsir had two goals in LA’s 5-2 rout of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, while Velasco had one goal and one assist in a 4-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes – arguably his best all-around performance since joining Dallas last winter as a club-record signing from Argentina's Independiente.

Aside from Cifuentes, three other midfielders made the starting XI: Alejandro Pozuelo (Inter Miami CF), Sebastian Driussi (Austin FC) and Carles Gil (New England Revolution).

Pozuelo had two goals and an assist in Miami’s 3-2 comeback win over New York City FC, a heroic showing from the midseason trade acquisition. Driussi’s stoppage-time winner sealed a dramatic 4-3 comeback win over Sporting Kansas City, further strengthening his Landon Donovan MLS MVP candidacy. And Gil had the early winner in New England’s 1-0 victory over D.C. United, a complete two-way performance from the reigning MVP as his Revs dealt with several injuries up top.

Real Salt Lake left back Andrew Brody and Toronto FC right back Richie Laryea earned spots along the backline, too. Brody’s game-winning tally gave RSL a 2-1 win at Seattle Sounders FC to cap Week 25, and Laryea had two assists in TFC’s 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers as he rapidly acclimates to a late-summer loan from English Premier League side Nottingham Forest.

The starting goalkeeper spot goes to Minnesota United FC’s Dayne St. Clair. The Canadian international notched seven saves in MNUFC’s 2-1 win at Nashville SC, building off his midweek MVP nod in the MLS All-Stars’ 2-1 win over the Liga MX All-Stars.

Team of the Week (3-4-3, left to right): Dayne St. Clair (MIN) – Andrew Brody (RSL), Jack Elliott (PHI), Richie Laryea (TOR) – Alejandro Pozuelo (MIA), Sebastian Driussi (ATX), Jose Cifuentes (LAFC), Carles Gil (NE) – Samuel Grandsir (LA), Julian Carranza (PHI), Alan Velasco (DAL)

Coach: Steve Cherundolo (LAFC)

Bench: Djordje Petrovic (NE), Lassi Lappalainen (MTL), Thiago Almada (ATL), Facundo Torres (ORL), Lorenzo Insigne (TOR), Jesus Ferreira (DAL), Sergio Cordova (RSL)


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.