Atlanta United kept rolling, the New York Red Bulls ran riot and the Philadelphia Union earned a vital win – helping all three Eastern Conference clubs spearhead the Team of the Week presented by Audi for Week 26, plus alter the Audi MLS Cup Playoff picture.
Atlanta’s 3-2 win over D.C. United saw Ezequiel Barco continue his stellar run of form since returning from the Tokyo Olympics, netting a free-kick golazo and assisting a classic Josef Martinez strike. Then left back George Bello showed why he’s a budding US men’s national team talent, shining both ways and capping a wondrous solo run from Marcelino Moreno.
RBNY poured on the goals in a 4-0 rout of Inter Miami CF, a game where Fabio dunked two powerful headers and Omir Fernandez added a goal of his own. Fernandez, part of their homegrown fleet, was buzzing and creating chances at will.
Philadelphia took possession of the East's seventh and final playoff place with a 3-1 dispatch of Orlando City SC. Kacper Przybylko scored twice, and head coach Jim Curtin had his side ready to respond from a Concacaf Champions League semifinal exit to Liga MX’s Club America midweek.
The forward line also includes Real Salt Lake's Damir Kreilach for his strike that downed Seattle 1-0, while Emanuel Reynoso scored twice upon his Minnesota United FC return, powering a 3-0 win over the LA Galaxy. Also in midfield, San Jose Earthquakes attacking midfielder Javier “Chofis” Lopez stayed red-hot by scoring twice in a 4-3 comeback win at Austin FC.
Toronto FC right back Auro was stellar in a 2-1 win over Nashville SC that snapped their six-game losing skid, dishing out the opening assist. And Portland Timbers center back Larrys Mabiala put in a veteran-laden performance in their 2-1 win over LAFC to stay unbeaten in five matches.
Columbus Crew goalkeeper Eloy Room rounds out the team, making six saves in a 1-1 draw at the Supporters’ Shield-leading New England Revolution. Even when injured late on, the Curacao international stood tall.
Team of the Week (3-4-3, left to right): Eloy Room (CLB) – George Bello (ATL), Larrys Mabiala (POR), Auro (TOR) – Omir Fernandez (RBNY), Emanuel Reynoso (MIN), Eduardo “Chofis” Lopez (SJ), Ezequiel Barco (ATL) – Kacper Przybylko (PHI), Fabio (RBNY), Damir Kreilach (RSL)
Coach: Jim Curtin (PHI)
Bench: James Pantemis (MTL), Aaron Herrera (RSL), Keaton Parks (NYC), Jack Price (COL), Djorjde Mihailovic (MTL), Jader Obrian (DAL), Griffin Dorsey (HOU)
The Team of the Week presented by Audi is voted on by the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff.
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.