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The Pitch (Matchday 4): Top Things to Watch in MLS This Week

Reigning MLS Cup Champions LAFC Prepare for Battle Against Kings of Concacaf, Seattle Sounders FC


Saturday’s slate of MLS games kicks off with an early-season royal rumble in the West between reigning MLS Cup champion, Los Angeles Football Club, and 2022 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League winners, Seattle Sounders FC.

LAFC has stormed into 2023, scoring seven goals in back-to-back home wins, with Landon Donovan MLS MVP contender Dénis Bouanga leading the charge. Bouanga followed up a midweek hat trick against Alajuelense in CCL action with two goals and an assist in LAFC’s 4-0 win over the New England Revolution last week, making him one of three players to register multiple goals and assists this season, joining Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada (two goals, two assists) and Philadelphia’s Dániel Gazdag (two goals, two assists). Midfielder José Cifuentes has also started hot for LAFC this season, coming off the bench and registering assists on Bouanga’s second goal and 20-year-old forward Stipe Biuk’s first score for the club in last weekend’s win.

The Sounders have been formidable at home to start the season and will look to earn another statement victory at Lumen Field. U.S. Men’s National Team forward Jordan Morris has been the shining light in attack for the club with all three of his goals coming at home and being scored off headers, highlighting his aerial threat from crosses into the box. The club has also yet to concede at home through two games, as defenders Yéimar Gomez and Jackson Ragen, a Seattle native, have built a strong partnership at center back in their first season as the starting pair for the Sounders.

With swords sharpened by their opening slate of games, LAFC and Seattle will take to the battlefield in the latest installment of their back-and-forth battle for the Western Conference crown on Saturday, March 19 (4 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass / FOX).

Owen Wolff Continues to Flourish for Austin as Under-20 World Cup Approaches

Owen Wolff Spotlight

With the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup approaching in May, Austin FC Homegrown midfielder Owen Wolff is stating his case of a spot on the roster.  After earning his first call-up to the U-20 side this past January, the 18-year-old midfielder has started strong for his club side, locking down a starting role for Austin FC.

This past weekend’s game-winning performance against Real Salt Lake was highlighted by an assist on Austin’s opening goal and scoring the game-winning goal, the first of his MLS career, from range (WATCH HERE).

Wolff is the youngest player to score a goal in MLS this season at 18 years and 72 days old and has joined an illustrious group of eight father-son duos to have each scored an MLS goal. His father, Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff, scored 80 regular season goals of his own, with his first coming for the Chicago Fire in 1998.

His ascension at Austin earned him his first two call-ups to the U-19 U.S. Men’s National Team last year, and Wolff now has hopes on making the U-20 roster ahead of their World Cup. With just under two months until the tournament kicks off in Indonesia, Wolff will look to continue building on his string of good performances to earn his spot on the roster.

Wolff’s next opportunity to shine in MLS play will be next Saturday, March 18 (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass) when Austin travels to Houston Dynamo FC in a Copa Tejas clash.

St. Louis CITY SC Sit Atop of the Supporters’ Shield Standings,Set Sights on Best Expansion Start Ever

St. Louis Perfect 3-0-0

With a 3-0-0 start, St. Louis CITY SC finished Matchday 3 atop the Supporters’ Shield standings. The upstart squad from St. Louis joined the Seattle Sounders FC (2009) as the only expansion clubs to win each of their first three matches in MLS play. Saturday’s win over the Portland Timbers came off the back of goals from midfielder Jared Stroud and defender Kyle Hiebert, demonstrating St. Louis’ game-winning quality across the field. 

Forward João Klauss registered his firstMLS assist on Jared Stroud’s equalizer against the Timbers, while midfielder Eduard Löwen provided the assist on defender Kyle Hiebert’s game-winning goal. St. Louis is the only club to have two players register a goal or an assist in each of its first three games of this season as Klauss and Löwen continue to live up to their Designated Player billings. Löwen is also the outright assist leader in MLS with three in three games as he continues to pull the strings from midfield for St. Louis’ high-octane offense. Hiebert and Stroud are two additional key contributors to St. Louis’ unbeaten start, with Hiebert earning his starting role after an MLS NEXT Pro Best XI season with St Louis CITY SC 2 in 2022 and Stroud equaling Klauss’ team-leading two goals this weekend.

St. Louis’ various goal-scoring threats have also made it impossible to count them out even when trailing, as all three of their wins have come from losing positions. They are the seventh different MLS club to achieve three consecutive come-from-behind victories and the first since the LA Galaxy in 2015 (August 1 to August 15), with four of their eight goals this season coming in or after the 70th minute.

After joining the Sounders as the only expansion clubs to win their first three MLS games, St. Louis will look to enter uncharted territory with a fourth straight win to start the season as they host the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, March 18 (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass).

Women's History Month Spotlight: Chelsea Cabarcas

The Pitch Week 4_Chelsea Cabarcas

To celebrate Women’s History Month, Major League Soccer is highlighting women who are making an impact across the league through coaching, soccer administration, broadcasting or, at the executive level.

As a Spanish language studio analyst for MLS Season Pass and bilingual TV personality, Chelsea Cabarcas earns the spotlight this week. Cabarcas previously worked as an in-stadium host for NYCFC matches and as an analyst for MSG’s coverage of the NWSL. She covered the 2022 FIFA World Cup as a Morning Breakfast Show host for 433 and Qatar Airways, interviewing legends and providing daily updates on matches.

In 2016, Cabarcas was the video host for ONE World Sports and Cosmos TV, where she created feature packages and postgame interviews with New York Cosmos players and coaches, including the live postgame “Man of the Match” interview. Born in New York City and raised in an athletic Colombian family, she was a member of the Colombian U-17 women's national team at age 15, and soon thereafter was invited to compete with the senior squad at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

By the Numbers


From young goal scorers to shutout streaks preserved, below is a sampling of notable stats and figures from Matchday 3 of the 2023 Major League Soccer season:

  • 0: Only one club in MLS – Nashville SC – has yet to concede a goal through the first three weeks of the season. With another shutout, Nashville would become just the third team in MLS history and the first since Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2012 to open a season with four consecutive shutouts.
  • 5: Five players in MLS have recorded at least one goal or assist in each of their club’s first three games of the 2023 season: Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada, San Jose Earthquakes’ Cristian Espinoza, Austin FC’s Jon Gallagher, and St. Louis CITY SC’sduo of João Klauss and Eduard Löwen.
  • 7: Seven clubs enter Matchday 4 without having lost a match this season: Atlanta United, FC Cincinnati, LAFC, Minnesota United FC, Nashville SC, Orlando City SC, and St. Louis CITY SC.
  • 11: Eleven goals were scored by players aged 23 or younger on Matchday 3, which accounted for over 40 percent of the total goals from the week (27). Of those goals scored on Matchday 3:
    • 3 by 18-year-olds (Owen Wolff and Caleb Wiley)
    • 2 by 20-year-olds (Stipe Biuk and Deandre Kerr)
    • 2 by 22-year-olds (Duncan McGuire and Bongokuhle Hlongwane)
    • 4 by 23-year-olds (Chris Durkin, Brenner, Jacob Shaffelburg, and Andres Reyes)

Tap-Ins: Matchday 4

A look at other headlines and activity around Major League Soccer ahead of Matchday 4:

MLS Season Pass Broadcast Schedule: Matchday 4

Below is the MLS Season Pass broadcast schedule for Matchday 4, including English-language commentators for each match with the play-by-play talent listed first, followed by the match analyst.

Matchday 4 - ENG

How to Cover MLS in 2023 

To assist in your coverage of the 2023 MLS season, the MLS Communications staff has provided the following media resources, all of which are available on  

  • 2023 MLS Season Preview | Link 
  • 2023 MLS Fact and Record Book | Link 
  • 2023 MLS Statistics and Standings | Link 
  • Weekly Club Game Notes | Link 
  • MLS PR on Twitter | Link