Team of the Matchday

Team of the Week presented by Audi: Hat tricks, playoff shakeups galore in Week 25

The easiest path to leading Week 25’s Team of the Week presented by Audi? It’s apparently dropping a 4-0 result on your opponent as the Audi MLS Cup Playoff races continue to intensify.


That framework applies to Sporting Kansas City, who vaulted atop the Western Conference standings with a 4-0 home win over Minnesota United FC. Star winger Johnny Russell had one goal and two assists in the rout, while head coach Peter Vermes has now positioned his team to earn back-to-back shutouts at Children’s Mercy Park.

Meanwhile, Atlanta United moved into the Eastern Conference’s seventh and final playoff spot courtesy of a 4-0 trouncing of FC Cincinnati. History-making striker Josef Martinez had a brace, while center back Alan Franco dropped a hat trick of assists.

Then it was goals aplenty in a 4-3 thriller that went Real Salt Lake’s way, despite the best efforts of San Jose Earthquakes attacker Eduardo Lopez. "Chofis" netted a stunning hat trick in the defeat, while RSL midfielder Albert Rusnak logged one goal and two assists to keep his side above the Western Conference playoff line.

D.C. United forward Ola Kamara produced one of the top individual performances of Week 25, netting a hat trick in a 3-0 win over Chicago Fire FC that gave him the Golden Boot presented by Audi race lead (16 goals). CF Montréal forward Romell Quioto was similarly explosive, recording one goal and two assists in a 4-2 win at Orlando City SC that shook up the East’s postseason race.

Aside from Franco, the backline also includes Christian Makoun (Inter Miami CF) and Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew). Makoun patiently lasered home a 95th-minute penalty kick to down Toronto FC 1-0, while Mensah was lockdown in a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over the New York Red Bulls.

At goalkeeper, Michael Nelson earns the nod after a three-save performance that helped Houston Dynamo FC secure a 1-1 draw at the LA Galaxy.

Team of the Week (3-4-3, left to right): Michael Nelson (HOU) – Christian Makoun (MIA), Alan Franco (ATL), Jonathan Mensah (CLB) – Johnny Russell (SKC), Eduardo “Chofis” Lopez (SJ), Albert Rusnak (RSL), Jader Obrian (DAL) – Ola Kamara (DC), Josef Martinez (ATL), Romell Quioto (MTL)

Coach: Peter Vermes (SKC)

Bench: Bill Hamid (DC), Jose Cifuentes (LAFC), Sebastian Blanco (POR), Djordje Mihailovic (MTL), Jesus Medina (NYC), Ezequiel Barco (ATL), Rubio Rubin (RSL)

The Team of the Week presented by Audi is voted on by the 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.