Winners and Losers Across MLS: Week 3
Another week, another slate of action in Major League Soccer. Here are our winners and losers from Week 3 in MLS.
The third week of the 2023 Major League Soccer regular season is in the books. Here are our winners and losers from this round of action.
Winner: Homegrown players
Atlanta United winger Caleb Wiley announced his presence with a banner performance against Charlotte FC on Saturday, recording two goals and an assist in his side’s 3-0 win.
He is the fourth-youngest player in MLS history to notch three goal contributions in a single half.
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Three other homegrown players had success getting on the scoresheet across the league this weekend:
Owen Wolf: The son of Austin FC coach Josh Wolf converted the game-winner against Real Salt Lake this weekend.
Chris Durkin: He’s in eighth season with DC United, but Chris Durkin still counts as a homegrown player. He scored in his side’s 1-1 tie with Orlando City SC on Saturday.
Deandre Kerr: The 20-year-old opened the scoring in an eventual 1-1 tie with Columbus Crew SC.
Winner: St. Louis City SC
St. Louis CITY SC went to Providence Park, one of the toughest and most raucous venues in MLS and secured a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers.
The MLS debutants sits atop the Western Conference with a perfect nine points and are only the second expansion team in league history to win each of their first three matches.
St. Louis is officially the kid no one knows that shows up to the party and schools everyone at ping-pong. The target on his back gets bigger with each game he wins.
Face it: St. Louis is the team to beat going into Week 4.
Best of luck to the San Jose Earthquakes.
Loser: Brandt Bronico
A Charlotte FC player is on this list for the second consecutive week for an errant back pass.
This time, it’s Brandt Bronico, whose lazy attempt at a lay-off got intercepted by Thiago Almada before turning into a 5th minute goal for Atlanta’s Caleb Wiley.
It’s been a rough start to the season for Charlotte, which remains stuck in the bottom of the Eastern Conference at 0-3-0 with one goal for and seven against.
Video Assisted Review came out of this weekend looking good.
The check was involved in five high-profile plays this weekend and seemingly reached the correct decision in each one. A brief review — no pun intended:
Match referee Jon Freemon awarded DC United a penalty kick for an apparent handball in the box in the 56th minute but reversed his decision after intervention from VAR Jorge Gonzalez. Had the call stood, it would have likely been the most egregious refereeing decision of the round.
Match referee Ismael Elfath initially awarded Charlotte FC a penalty kick for an apparent foul on Kamil Jozwiak midway through the first half. But after seeing that Jozwiak was not brought down by contact in the area, VAR Drew Fischer called for a second look.
An apparent goal in second half stoppage time by Seattle Sounders FC’s Yeimar Gomez Andrade was called back because of intervention from VAR David Barrie. Andrade inadvertently fouled a player prior to putting the ball in the back of the net. Seattle ended up losing, 1-0, to FC Cincinnati.
Damir Kreillach was set to be ejected by match referee Alex Chilowicz for a tackle on Daniel Pereira before VAR Carol Anne Chenard intervened and changed the call to a caution. Real Salt Lake lost 2-1.
Jimmy Medranda’s equalizer in Columbus Crew SC’s 1-1 tie with Toronto FC was initially called offside. VAR Jair Maruffo called for a second look.
Winner: Denis Bouanga
Denis Bouanga was a crossbar away from recording hat-tricks in consecutive games.
Less than three full days after helping Los Angeles FC trounce Alajuelense in CONCACAF Champions League with a masterful three-goal performance, the Gabonese attacker scored twice against the New England Revolution.
Bouanga rattled the crossbar with a second half free kick and thoroughly terrorized the Revolution back line all night. He even added an assist on Stipe Biuk’s goal in second half stoppage time.
Loser: CF Montreal’s offense
In terms of strength of schedule, CF Montreal have had one of the league’s stiffest to start the season, facing Inter Miami CF, Austin FC, and Nashville SC all on the road. Montreal was without question the underdog in each of those games. That said, the offense needs to be checked for a pulse.
The Québécois are one of just three teams in the league — and the only ones in the Eastern Conference — to not register a goal so far this season. Losing Djordje Mihailovic has clearly hurt the club’s attack, but was there really no Plan B to Kei Kamara?
Colorado and Sporting KC, who join Montreal as the only teams not to score so far this season, have fared much on the eye test. Montreal ranks second-to-last in key passes and recorded zero shots on target in its loss to Nashville this weekend.