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

Major League Soccer

March 14, 2023 – Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

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

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…

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