Week 10 of the 2022 MLS season is done and dusted with almost a third of the campaign already behind us.
The latest round of matches saw Supporters’ Shield rivals LAFC and Philadelphia Union battle to a 2-2 draw, Atlanta United get back to winning ways with a 4-1 hammering of the Chicago Fire, and the San Jose Earthquakes continue their post-Almeyda renaissance.
It’s a team game, but sometimes one player can inspire a team into life with a huge performance. Here are 90min‘s top five from Week 10:
In the four games San Jose have played under interim head coach Alex Covelo – replacing the controversial Matias Almeyda – they’ve won three, lost one, and kept two clean sheets.
Their latest victory was a closely fought 1-0 battle against the Colorado Rapids which was all about which defense would blink before the other. Brazilian center-back Nathan was absolutely determined it wouldn’t be the Quakes’.
Nathan made an impressive four tackles, four interceptions, and five recoveries on Saturday, as well as winning two aerial duels. Whenever he’s in this sort of form, the whole Quakes backline improves, and he truly was massive against the Rapids.
Oh, and did we mention it was Nathan who scored the winning goal on 64 minutes? Center-back performances don’t come much better than this one.
A lot of focus was understandably given to Saturday night’s clash between LAFC and the Philadelphia Union – two of the most recent Supporters’ Shield winners and among the favorites for the title again this season.
On the balance of play, LAFC might feel they did enough to win the match despite having to come from behind twice. But in the end, they had to settle for just a point thanks largely to the performance of Union midfielder Daniel Gazdag.
The Hungarian continued his fine start to the season by popping up at the back post to put the Union 1-0 up on nine minutes. Then, after LAFC had hit back, he turned provider, fizzing an accurate pass into Julian Carranza who dispatched a wonderful finish into the far corner.
Gazdag’s contributions to this match ensured LAFC were always chasing, never able to establish the sort of dominance only a team in the lead can.
At least at home, DC United are enjoying an uptick of their own under interim boss Chad Ashton, winning both their games at Audi Field and scoring five goals across the two match.
Taxiarchis Fountas is responsible for four of those goals, netting another brace as the Black and Red beat the Dynamo 2-0 on Saturday.
His first was a slightly fortunate first-time effort from a corner that he hit into the ground to wrongfoot Steve Clark. But there was no fortune to the second as Fountas arrived late at the far post, battled off a defender, and blasted the ball home.
The Greek winger is very quickly establishing himself as a hero at Audi Field.
CF Montreal’s early-season struggles are well behind them, with the revival in full swing. After taking a 2-0 lead, the Canadian side were pegged back by Orlando City in the 72nd minute and that would have made for a nervous ending were it not for the efforts of Joaquin Torres.
The Argentine forward showed elite composure to control and turn inside the box before hammering the ball past Pedro Gallese in the 81st. Then, just three minutes later, Torres combined with Zachary Brault-Guillard, setting up the wing-back to finish the game at 4-1.
The late flurry was exactly what Montreal and, more specifically, Torres deserved. The forward completed seven dribbles, created three chances, and attempted four shots on the day.
How many MLS goals does Ronaldo Cisneros have? Four. How many MLS hat-tricks? One.
The Mexican striker combined brilliantly with Luiz Araujo, Thiago Almada, and Marcelino Moreno to complete a hat-trick, scoring three very different goals. One was an emphatic finish at the end of a gorgeous team move, another staying alert for a rebound, and the third keeping his composure to round Gabriel Slonina.
Goals aside, Cisneros put a decent shift in to keep the Fire center-backs on the backfoot, both physically and with his movement between and behind opposition lines.
This is the sort of Josef Martinez alternative Atlanta United have been desperate for. In fact, Cisneros is the first Five Stripe to net an MLS hat-trick since the Venezuelan way back in July 2018.
Honorable mentions: Djordje Mihailovic, Luiz Araujo, Thiago Almada, Paul Arriola, Paxton Pomykal, Carles Gil, Derrick Etienne, Luciano Acosta, Thomas Hasal