The Philadelphia Union solidified its status as Eastern Conference leader with another demolition job in a 6-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The Union, a hat trick from Gonzalo Higuain and golazos from Junior Urso, Jack McGlynn and Higuain headline Week 23’s Best of MLS.
Inter Miami earned a draw against FC Cincinnati in one of the weekend’s best battles. Higuain continues to prove his value to Phil Neville’s plans. A thunderous free kick, a smart run in the middle of the box and a penalty kick completed a hat trick for Higuain as Inter Miami picked up a point thanks to a late goal from Swedish defender Christopher McVey.
It was a big week for goalkeepers. FC Dallas goalkeeper Maarten Paes preserved a win for this team by stopping the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Dejan Joveljic from the penalty spot. Austin FC’s Brad Stuver and Djordje Petrovic also made penalty saves.
Here are the top moments from Week 23.
Player of the Week
It might have been difficult to predict that Gonzalo Higuain would play such a key role in Inter Miami’s continued resurgence, based on the way the 2022 season started. Herons coach Phil Neville looked for “more quality from my quality players” amid a poor start. Well, Higuain has risen to the challenge.
Higuain now has five goals in his last five games, after scoring a hat trick in a 4-4 draw against FC Cincinnati. He launched a scorcher of a free kick into the top right corner to open scoring, then connected with Alejandro Pozuelo for another goal. Finally, Higuain scored a penalty kick in the fifth minute of first-half stoppage time.
Neville, however, was not happy after the game. He told reporters his side defended “like little boys” as Inter Miami gave up two or more goals for the fourth game in a row.
Inter Miami is only three points shy of a playoff spot, with 12 games remaining. Neville’s side will be fighting for its first playoff berth in club history.
Team of the Week
The Union continue to set the pace in the Eastern Conference, and another thrashing shows that Jim Curtin are hitting their stride at an important time of the season.
Daniel Gazdag started the onslaught by finishing off a clever ball from Alejandro Bedoya in the 23rd minute. Gazdag scored his 11th goal of the season and scored in his fourth straight game.
DP striker Mikael Uhre scored two more goals, getting on the board in the first minute of first-half stoppage time and 48th minute respectively. Julian Carranza found a soft spot in the Dynamo’s defense and scored the Union’s fifth goal in the 55th minute.
Union coach Jim Curtin deployed a few Homegrown players who impressed. Central midfielder Jack McGlynn scored his first MLS goal with a long-range free kick in the 42nd minute. Quinn Sullivan completed the rout with a goal in the 89th minute.
This impressive win raises the question of whether the Union can mount a challenge to Los Angeles FC for the Supporters’ Shield. The Union command the Eastern Conference with a three-point lead over NYCFC, and seem capable of challenging LAFC, which lie three points ahead of the Union.
Goal of the Week
Plenty of outstanding goals were scored this week, but the best came last. Junior Urso chipped D.C. United goalkeeper Rafael Romo, showing his awareness and a little audacity in launching this high-arcing shot which hit the side netting.
Urso’s early brilliance seemed enough to secure a win for Orlando City. However, Chris Durkin and Taxi Fountas scored in stoppage time to take all three points at the death. D.C. United picked up a win in new coaching hire Wayne Rooney’s first game on the sideline.
Other top goals from this week include Jack McGlynn’s first MLS goal, which was a beautiful free kick. Higuain’s powerful free kick brought another of the best goals, and Christopher McVey’s equalizer deep into stoppage time of the same match is another candidate.