The MLS Team of the Week: Matchday 4

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MLS expert James Nalton picks two standout performers based on his votes in the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) Player of the Week awards and picks out a few more of this week’s contenders.


By James Nalton


The new MLS season continues apace as some players of whom big things are expected begin to make their mark on the league.

One of the best strikers in MLS tops the list of standout players this week after helping his team to a 4-1 win.

Elsewhere, there was a strong goalkeeping performance, a dogged defensive midfield display, and two centre-forwards showing their finishing ability on opposing sides in the same game.

But the players getting my NASR votes this week spearheaded their team to important, statement performances, which they hope will set the tone for the games to come.

The Top Two

9.7 FotMob rating: Georgios Giakoumakis – Atlanta United

The Greek striker was joint second in the MLS scoring charts during the regular season in 2023 with 17.

Having failed to find the net in Atlanta’s opening game of the season against Columbus Crew, he more than made up for it with a perfect hat-trick in a 4-1 win against New England Revolution.

He won a penalty at the end of the first half from which Thiago Almada opened the scoring, the Argentine taking the penalty instead of Giakoumakis.

But when Atlanta won a second spot-kick in the second half, the striker took over, scoring the first of his three goals.

A strong header from a Brooks Lennon cross took his personal tally to two and then an excellent left-footed finish from an angle completed the perfect hat-trick of right foot, left foot, and header.

8.8 FotMob rating: Emil Forsberg – New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls have begun the season with a string of promising performances following a disappointing campaign last time out.

Forsberg has been at the heart of the new look and new feel around Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, and was a standout player as they won their home opener 2-1 against FC Dallas.

Forsberg works hard and fits the system like a glove, but is also a top-quality player and already proving he’s one of this season’s best signings.

He played a brilliant ball over the top for Lewis Morgan that led to the penalty which Forsberg himself stepped up to convert.

He then set up Morgan in open play for a second which was enough to win their first home game of the season by an eventual one-goal margin.

If the pair can continue to combine in this manner this season, then the Red Bulls could be a force in the East.

Some more standout performers

8.7 FotMob rating: Duncan McGuire – Orlando City

Teemu Pukki could easily have been the striker to highlight from Minnesota United’s 3-2 against Orlando City.

But McGuire’s assimilation straight back into this Orlando side after the bitter disappointment of the breakdown of a winter transfer to Blackburn Rovers, through no fault of his own, is impressive.

Both players finished superbly for a brace each, Pukki from the narrowest of angles for his first and then with a quick turn and strike from outside the area to make it a pair.

The two scored by the 23-year-old American McGuire were just as impressive.

One was taken brilliantly in his stride with one touch and finished clinically with the next. The other was struck sweetly and with accuracy into the far corner from the edge of the area.

Blackburn’s loss is Orlando City’s (re-)gain.

8.6 FotMob rating Alex Bono – DC United

DC United travelled to last season’s league leaders FC Cincinnati and came away with a more than respectable 0-0 draw.

Goalkeeper Bono played a big role in the result, finishing the game having made seven saves, preventing a total xG on target of 2.68.

In the first half he saved well at the near post from Alvas Powell, and then from a close-range shot by Corey Baird at the subsequent corner.

That Baird effort alone registered an xG of 0.78, and a later stop from close range from Aaron Boupendza had an xG on target of 0.82.

Every notable Cincinnati attack ended with the commentators making a mention of Bono’s name, as he appeared unpassable in the DC United goal.

8.3 FotMob rating: Andrés Cubas – Vancouver Whitecaps

In a tight game during which the Whitecaps’ opponents San Jose Earthquakes dominated possession, defensive contributions were important to the visiting side.

That Vancouver eventually emerged 2-0 winners was as much down to disrupting the Earthquakes’s play and keeping them out at the other end as it was the goals from Alessandro Schöpf and Ali Ahmed.

Cubas regularly broke up San Jose attacks before they could get into the danger area, finishing the game with 14 defensive actions.

The 27-year-old Paraguay international will continue to be key for the Whitecaps, providing the defensive security that allows the likes of Ryan Gauld and Brian White to do their thing in attack.


(Images from IMAGO)


You can follow every match from MLS live with FotMob — featuring deep stats coverage including shot maps, xG, and player ratings. Download the free app here.

The MLS Team of the Week: Matchday 4

MLS expert James Nalton picks two standout performers based on his votes in the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) Player of the Week awards and picks out a few more of this week’s contenders.


By James Nalton


The new MLS season continues apace as some players of whom big things are expected begin to make their mark on the league.

One of the best strikers in MLS tops the list of standout players this week after helping his team to a 4-1 win.

Elsewhere, there was a strong goalkeeping performance, a dogged defensive midfield display, and two centre-forwards showing their finishing ability on opposing sides in the same game.

But the players getting my NASR votes this week spearheaded their team to important, statement performances, which they hope will set the tone for the games to come.

The Top Two

9.7 FotMob rating: Georgios Giakoumakis – Atlanta United

The Greek striker was joint second in the MLS scoring charts during the regular season in 2023 with 17.

Having failed to find the net in Atlanta’s opening game of the season against Columbus Crew, he more than made up for it with a perfect hat-trick in a 4-1 win against New England Revolution.

He won a penalty at the end of the first half from which Thiago Almada opened the scoring, the Argentine taking the penalty instead of Giakoumakis.

But when Atlanta won a second spot-kick in the second half, the striker took over, scoring the first of his three goals.

A strong header from a Brooks Lennon cross took his personal tally to two and then an excellent left-footed finish from an angle completed the perfect hat-trick of right foot, left foot, and header.

8.8 FotMob rating: Emil Forsberg – New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls have begun the season with a string of promising performances following a disappointing campaign last time out.

Forsberg has been at the heart of the new look and new feel around Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, and was a standout player as they won their home opener 2-1 against FC Dallas.

Forsberg works hard and fits the system like a glove, but is also a top-quality player and already proving he’s one of this season’s best signings.

He played a brilliant ball over the top for Lewis Morgan that led to the penalty which Forsberg himself stepped up to convert.

He then set up Morgan in open play for a second which was enough to win their first home game of the season by an eventual one-goal margin.

If the pair can continue to combine in this manner this season, then the Red Bulls could be a force in the East.

Some more standout performers

8.7 FotMob rating: Duncan McGuire – Orlando City

Teemu Pukki could easily have been the striker to highlight from Minnesota United’s 3-2 against Orlando City.

But McGuire’s assimilation straight back into this Orlando side after the bitter disappointment of the breakdown of a winter transfer to Blackburn Rovers, through no fault of his own, is impressive.

Both players finished superbly for a brace each, Pukki from the narrowest of angles for his first and then with a quick turn and strike from outside the area to make it a pair.

The two scored by the 23-year-old American McGuire were just as impressive.

One was taken brilliantly in his stride with one touch and finished clinically with the next. The other was struck sweetly and with accuracy into the far corner from the edge of the area.

Blackburn’s loss is Orlando City’s (re-)gain.

8.6 FotMob rating Alex Bono – DC United

DC United travelled to last season’s league leaders FC Cincinnati and came away with a more than respectable 0-0 draw.

Goalkeeper Bono played a big role in the result, finishing the game having made seven saves, preventing a total xG on target of 2.68.

In the first half he saved well at the near post from Alvas Powell, and then from a close-range shot by Corey Baird at the subsequent corner.

That Baird effort alone registered an xG of 0.78, and a later stop from close range from Aaron Boupendza had an xG on target of 0.82.

Every notable Cincinnati attack ended with the commentators making a mention of Bono’s name, as he appeared unpassable in the DC United goal.

8.3 FotMob rating: Andrés Cubas – Vancouver Whitecaps

In a tight game during which the Whitecaps’ opponents San Jose Earthquakes dominated possession, defensive contributions were important to the visiting side.

That Vancouver eventually emerged 2-0 winners was as much down to disrupting the Earthquakes’s play and keeping them out at the other end as it was the goals from Alessandro Schöpf and Ali Ahmed.

Cubas regularly broke up San Jose attacks before they could get into the danger area, finishing the game with 14 defensive actions.

The 27-year-old Paraguay international will continue to be key for the Whitecaps, providing the defensive security that allows the likes of Ryan Gauld and Brian White to do their thing in attack.


(Images from IMAGO)


You can follow every match from MLS live with FotMob — featuring deep stats coverage including shot maps, xG, and player ratings. Download the free app here.