A first victory of 2023 for the Houston Dynamo and two goals including a stunning free kick from Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada headlined the Best of MLS for Week 4.
The Houston Dynamo rebounded from back-to-back losses by defeating in-state rivals Austin FC 2-0 on Saturday night. Amine Bassi and Hector Herrera both contributed their first goals for the Dynamo in a shutout Texas Derby victory at Shell Energy Stadium.
Steve Clark was solid in goal, making five saves as the Dynamo registered their first clean sheet in the Ben Olsen-era. It also marked the first head-to-head win for the Dynamo over Josh Wolff’s squad since September 2021.
Thiago Almada is already an early frontrunner for the MLS MVP award and Saturday was another example of his stellar impact for Atlanta United. Almada scored twice and added two assists as the Five Stripes rolled past the Portland Timbers 5-1 in a rematch of the 2018 MLS Cup Final.
Almada’s stunning free kick in the first half helped pave the way to a lopsided home victory for Gonzalo Pineda’s squad.
Here are the top moments in Week 4:
Player of the Week
Thiago Almada did it all for Atlanta United on Saturday night, delivering another stunning performance in a 5-1 home romp over the Portland Timbers.
Almada sprung Caleb Wiley in the 25th minute for the Five Stripes opening goal of the match before calling his own number with a perfectly-placed free kick just before halftime. After Atlanta United extended its lead to 3-0 later in the second half, Almada played Luiz Araujo in towards goal for a 4-0 advantage with 15 minutes to play.
Derrick Etienne connected with Almada in the 86th minute as the Argentine picked up his second goal of the night. Almada now has four goals and four assists in four league appearances so far this season, continuing a rapid rate through the opening stage of the campaign.
Romell Quioto, Mateusz Klich, and Steve Clark were honorable mentions for the Player of the Week honors.
Team of the Week
The Houston Dynamo gained some valuable momentum on Saturday after defeating Austin FC by a 2-0 scoreline.
Amine Bassi’s second-half penalty kick goal paired with Hector Herrera’s first goal in Dynamo colors boosted Ben Olsen to his first victory in charge of the Western Conference club. The Dynamo made things difficult for Austin FC and also got a strong individual performance from. veteran goalkeeper Steve Clark.
Clark finished the match with five saves as he picked up his first clean sheet of 2023.
Atlanta United, New England Revolution, and New York Red Bulls also earned important victories, finishing as Team of the Week nominees.
Goal of the Week
Thiago Almada’s long-range strike in Atlanta United’s romp over the Portland Timbers not only picked up this week’s Goal of the Week honors, but is an early frontrunner for Goal of the Season.
Almada’s right-footed missile struck the right post of Aljaz Ivacic’s goal in the 45th minute before sneaking in past the Slovenian. Ivacic was left to watch the Argentine race away celebrating his stellar free kick goal.
Young Player of the Week
Thiago Almada got most of the deserved recognition in Atlanta United’s victory on Saturday, but Caleb Wiley also continued his impressive start to the 2023 campaign.
Wiley scored the opening goal at Mercedes-Benz Stadium before also assisting once in the 5-1 romp. The 18-year-old winger has excelled in an advanced role this season and continued his impactful start with another productive performance.
Wiley now has three goals and two assists in four MLS appearances.
Alan Velasco (one goal) and Brian Gutierrez (one assist), and Chris Brady (six saves) also finished the weekend as Young Player of the Week nominees.