FC Dallas, New York City FC and Sporting Kansas City combined to score 12 goals across Saturday and Sunday, helping those three sides lead the Team of the Week presented by Audi for Week 15.
Homegrown talent fueled FCD’s 4-0 thumping of the LA Galaxy, with striker Ricardo Pepi becoming the youngest MLS player to record a hat trick at 18 years and 196 days. Right back Justin Che notched his first career assist, reflecting why he’s been linked with a permanent move to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich for several months.
NYCFC sent a 5-0 rout Orlando City SC's way at Yankee Stadium, with attacking midfielder Maxi Moralez and left back Malte Amundsen both dropping one goal and one assist. The Cityzens’ underlying numbers have suggested an offensive explosion like that was just a matter of time.
Sporting KC handed the Seattle Sounders their first home defeat of the 2021 season, earning a 3-1 win in a top-of-the-table clash that narrowed the Western Conference race. Defensive midfielder Remi Walter hardly put a foot wrong throughout, and assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin expertly marshaled the troops with head coach Peter Vermes unable to man the sidelines after testing positive for COVID-19.
Aside from Pepi, the forward line includes Gustavo Bou and CJ Sapong. Bou had two goals in a 2-1 win over CF Montréal that ultimately helped the New England Revolution vault into first in the Supporters’ Shield race, while Sapong managed two goals and one assist in a 3-0 dispatch of FC Cincinnati.
The midfield group also has Minnesota United FC maestro Emanuel Reynoso and D.C. United wide man Julian Gressel. Reynoso had one assist and nine key passes in a 2-1 come-from-behind victory against the Portland Timbers that continued the Loons’ climb. Meanwhile, Gressel had the crucial assist in a 1-0 Atlantic Cup win over the rival New York Red Bulls.
The defense features Columbus Crew center back Jonathan Mensah, plus Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono between the pipes. Mensah scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 win at Atlanta United and was the defending MLS Cup winner’s air traffic controller. Bono posted a remarkable 13 saves during a 2-1 win at Chicago Fire FC, helping the Reds reach four games unbeaten amid the interim Javier Perez era.
Team of the Week (3-4-3, left to right): Alex Bono (TOR) – Malte Amudsen (NYC), Jonathan Mensah (CLB), Justin Che (DAL) – Maxi Moralez (NYC), Remi Walter (SKC), Emanuel Reynoso (MIN), Julian Gressel (DC) – Gustavo Bou (NE), CJ Sapong (NSH), Ricardo Pepi (DAL)
Coach: Kerry Zavagnin (SKC)
Bench: Eloy Room (CLB), Justen Glad (RSL), Chase Gasper (MIN), Jose Cifuentes (LAFC), Yeferson Soteldo (TOR), Kacper Przybylko (PHI), Valentin Castellanos (NYC)
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.