National Writer: Charles Boehm

Top young-player performances for MLS Week 13

A nine-goal thriller upon MLS’ return to Canada, the end of a regime in Atlanta, more frustration for FC Dallas’ youngsters, some goalkeeping larceny in downtown Los Angeles and a multi-million-dollar Serie A move for Tanner Tessmann.

MLS Week 13 had a lot going on! And #PlayYourKids was woven throughout. In fact, four YPPOTW-eligible standouts earned places in the Team of the Week presented by Audi. Here’s our rundown of what that quartet, and a few others, achieved.

Some aspects of Toye’s rip-roaring performance in CF Montréal's 5-4 comeback barnburner win over FC Cincinnati are measurable: Two goals (including a penalty kick both earned and dispatched), two key passes, 81.8% passing completion and three strikes in his past two matches to end a month-plus scoring drought and push his season total to six. Others, not so much – like the euphoria he and his teammates delivered their home fans in their first match at Stade Saputo in many months:

In the above clip, you may have also noticed FCC’s record signing bagged a brace as well and played a key role in Haris Medunjanin’s tally. Brenner was due, having failed to find the net since the season opener.

Cincy supporters can only be encouraged by the work rate their Brazilian No. 9 showed to press goalkeeper James Pantemis on the first, and the technique he flashed to coolly slot his second into the side netting. It’s been a slow start to life in MLS for the 21-year-old; hopefully he’s found his feet.

Here’s some data you don’t have to be an analytics wiz to make sense of: LAFC tabulated an expected goals (xG) total of 5.44 against Real Salt Lake on Saturday, yet only managed a narrow 2-1 victory on the scoreboard.

That’s because Ochoa was in his proverbial bag. The 20-year-old homegrown ‘keeper made eight saves, including a jaw-dropping denial of a Carlos Vela penalty kick, to keep his side in it right up to the final whistle. Dual-eligible, he’s fresh off stints in both the US and Mexican national team camps, and you can expect the anticipation about his permanent allegiance to keep simmering in the months ahead.

VWFC finally snapped a months-long winless skid with their defeat of the LA Galaxy, their first victory since May 8, and the highlight was this viciously-lashed side volley by Caicedo:

The 21-year-old Colombian now has 2g/2a in his first MLS season and has shown flashes of both entertainment and menace since joining the ‘Caps, nicely complementing his elder countryman Cristian Dajome on the opposite flank. Still waiting on the all-clear to decamp from Utah and head home, Vancouver will hope the duo gives the BC Place partisans plenty to shout about when they finally arrive.

Bassett and Vines, Bassett and Vines – the two leading lights of the latest “Rapkids” iteration have been something of a package deal in our many conversations about them over the past couple of years. But right now Vines, the elder of the two, is off balling for the USMNT at the Gold Cup, and I’ll bet you a nickel that has Bassett thinking just a bit more about when and how he can get there, too.

The 19-year-old sure played like it over the weekend for Colorado, scoring his third goal of the season in a man-of-the-match display against San Jose. Bassett also completed passes at a 90% clip, including one key pass.

Honorable Mentions

Cade Cowell: The Earthquakes’ young gem continues to make a strong case for more minutes from Matias Almeyda. Cowell notched his fourth assist of the year at Colorado, completed all 11 of his passes and got busy on the defensive side as well. Still some rough edges to sand down, yes, but few teenagers in MLS are as exciting to watch when they take possession of the ball in the attacking third.

Javain Brown: Haven’t heard of the Whitecaps’ right back? Maybe you’re one of those SuperDraft doubters, so you’ve missed the Jamaican’s quiet rise up the Vancouver depth chart since they made him to No. 23 overall pick back in January. And Brown's bringing plenty to the table on both sides of the ball; he made seven tackles against LA and won a bunch of duels, and it was his probing delivery into the Galaxy box that set the table for Caicedo’s aforementioned sidewinder.

Thiago Andrade: NYCFC’s young Brazilians are getting the hang of things quickly and Thiago was influential as the Cityzens played well and won the xG battle but somehow fell 2-1 in Columbus. He runs at defenders, combines brightly around the box and covers ground with a nice edge when out of possession.

George Campbell: Not much is going right for Atlanta United these days, but their homegrown defender’s recent progress has been a silver lining. Campbell, 20, was mostly composed defensively against New England’s menacing attack in his first-ever MLS start, dribbled out of the back confidently and even played a key pass.


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.