If you require further explanation as to why the Seattle Sounders and New England Revolution rank one-two in the Supporters’ Shield race, look no further than the Team of the Week presented by Audi for Week 14.
The Sounders capped midweek MLS games in style, securing a 1-0 win at expansion side Austin FC behind a 40-yard golazo from forward Raul Ruidiaz. Seattle started five teenagers while tackling a perfect storm of roster absences, with 19-year-old homegrown Josh Atencio shining at center back alongside others with Tacoma Defiance (USL Championship) experience. For calling all the right shots and trusting the Rave Green’s youth, Brian Schmetzer serves as head coach.
The 3-4-3 formation pulls from New England’s 5-0 road steamrolling of Inter Miami CF, too. Center forward Adam Buksa and midfielder Arnor Traustason both bagged a brace, while MVP candidate Carles Gil slots onto the bench for piecing it all together with two assists. Buksa’s looking more comfortable in the No. 9 role, then Traustason’s goals were his first since signing in March from Swedish Allsvenskan side Malmö FF.
There’s a Portland Timbers duo as well, a testament to their dramatic 2-1 win over LAFC in a marquee Western Conference clash. Felipe Mora starts up top after deftly nodding home a 93rd-minute winner, and defensive midfielder Diego Chara continues to prove that age (35) is just a number.
A tense 1-1 draw between FC Cincinnati and Atlanta United also shapes the starting XI. Cincy goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer made eight saves at TQL Stadium, and ATLUTD fullback Ronald Hernandez tallied the equalizer in his first MLS start, helping the visitors create some momentum in the post-Gabriel Heinze era.
Elsewhere in the lineup, New York City FC winger Ismael Tajouri-Shradi capitalized on some route one soccer to clinch a 1-0 win over CF Montréal. During a clash of two of the Eastern Conference's top sides, Orlando City SC midfielder Andres Perea nodded home the game-winner in a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union. Lastly, Colorado Rapids center back Lalas Abubakar anchored a clean sheet and supplied a rare goal that kickstarted their 2-0 win over FC Dallas.
Team of the Week (3-4-3, left to right): Kenneth Vermeer (CIN) – Ronald Hernandez (ATL), Lalas Abubakar (COL), Josh Atencio (SEA) – Arnor Traustason (NE), Andres Perea (ORL), Diego Chara (POR), Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (NYC) – Raul Ruidiaz (SEA), Adam Buksa (NE), Felipe Mora (POR)
Coach: Brian Schmetzer (SEA)
Bench: Joe Willis (NSH), Nathan (SJ), Kevin Paredes (DC), Ralph Priso (TOR), Rayan Raveloson (LA), Carles Gil (NE), Daniel Salloi (SKC)
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.