There were only nine games on tap during MLS Week 23 due to nine teams having byes, yet there still were plenty of leading performances to inform the Team of the Week presented by Audi.
None were more emphatic than LAFC’s 4-0 win over Sporting Kansas City, one that snapped the Black & Gold’s eight-game winless streak. Center back Mamadou Fall scored twice on powerful headers, while midfielder Eduard Atuesta served those two chances on a platter and deposited a penalty kick himself. After weathering over a dozen absences, head coach Bob Bradley mans the sidelines of this 3-5-2 formation.
Another strong result came from the New England Revolution, who began without five locked-in starters due to injury and international duty. But the Supporters’ Shield leaders still beat the Philadelphia Union 1-0, courtesy of a goal from midfielder Matt Polster and an eight-save shutout from goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
Week 23's best individual performance came from Nashville SC midfielder Hany Mukhtar, who scored twice and forced an own goal during his club’s 3-1 win over New York City FC. He’s joined in midfield by two crafty attackers with pace to burn: Real Salt Lake’s Jonathan Menendez and Michael Barrios of the Colorado Rapids. Menendez had one goal and one assist in a 3-2 victory over FC Dallas, while Barrios was a constant threat in a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes.
The forward duo contains Orlando City SC’s Daryl Dike and Felipe Mora of the Portland Timbers. Dike, back from injury and rounding into form, had one goal and one assist in a 3-2 win over the Columbus Crew. Mora was involved in both Portland goals in a 2-0 win at Houston Dynamo FC, netting a penalty kick.
Two more center backs complete the defense: Erik Godoy of Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Nicolas Figal of Inter Miami CF. Godoy’s header started a 2-1 comeback win over Austin FC that moved Vancouver to 10 games unbeaten, while Figal dropped a pinpoint assist that sparked Miami’s 1-0 win at FC Cincinnati.
Team of the Week (3-5-2, left to right): Brad Knighton (NE) – Mamadou Fall (LAFC), Erik Godoy (VAN), Nicolas Figal (MIA) – Jonathan Menendez (RSL), Eduard Atuesta (LAFC), Hany Mukhtar (NSH), Matt Polster (NE), Michael Barrios (COL) – Daryl Dike (ORL), Felipe Mora (POR)
Coach: Bob Bradley (LAFC)
Bench: Steve Clark (POR), Daniel Lovitz (NSH), Junior Urso (ORL), Ryan Gauld (VAN), Albert Rusnak (RSL), Jesus Ferreira (DAL), Dominque Badji (COL)
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.