Week 14 of the 2022 MLS season is done with most of the league now ready to break off for another international break.
This latest round of games saw the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls pick up resounding wins, NYCFC bunker in for a 1-0 away at Minnesota United, FC Dallas continue their rise, and more.
Take a look at which players influenced things most with 90min‘s top five players from Week 14.
Luquinhas has already looked good for the Red Bulls but on Saturday, he shifted up into a whole new gear.
After a tough first half, the Brazilian opened the scoring for New York against DC United on 54 minutes with a poacher’s effort inside the box. Just four minutes later, he unleashed an unstoppable volley into Bill Hamid’s far corner.
The rest of Luquinhas’ evening was about defensive work and pressing, making five tackles and seven recoveries. But it was his brace that kick-started the 4-1 mauling of DCU – another huge result for the Red Bulls.
Following FC Dallas’ 3-1 win away at Orlando City, head coach Nico Estevez named Paul Arriola as the ‘best winger in the league’. With performances like this one, is it any wonder why?
It was just another two goals from the USMNT star this weekend to take his tally to seven. For the first, Arriola found space to pick up the ball at the far post and smash it beyond Pedro Gallese, making it 1-1 on the night. For the second, he extended Dallas’ lead to 3-1 by driving the ball inside and finishing low across Gallese.
Goals aside, Arriola completed two dribbles and created three chances in another dynamic performance.
All these players scoring braces is fun, but Alexander Callens’ contribution for NYCFC on Saturday was arguably worth more.
For starters, the Peruvian rose highest to head the MLS Cup champions into a 1-0 lead inside half an hour away at Minnesota United.
But from there, it was a case of sitting back and watching Callens produce a defensive masterclass, the likes of which guided NYCFC to glory last season.
Across the 90 minutes, Callens made six clearances, six recoveries, four interceptions, four tackles, and one block, while also winning two aerial duels.
There are few better center-backs in Major League Soccer right now – if any.
The Colorado Rapids hadn’t lost at home prior to last weekend. So, how best to bring that record crashing down? Hit them with everything you’ve got in the opening 20 minutes.
It was CJ Sapong who opened the scoring after just eight minutes, tapping the ball home after Nashville caused havoc inside the Rapids box.
But it was Hany Mukhtar who finished the job. The former Brondby forward opened his account for the day with a gorgeous turn and powerful finish in the 15th minute. Just two minutes later, he combined with midfielder Luke Haakenson to head the ball home, effectively killing the match before it had really started.
When Mukhtar shows up, Nashville can be damn near unstoppable.
Dejan Joveljic was only on the pitch for 33 minutes on Sunday, but it was probably the most influential 33 minutes of any player in Major League Soccer this season.
With his side 1-0 down to Austin FC, Greg Vanney introduced the Serbian forward to play alongside Chicharito in a partnership. From there, all hell broke loose.
Within four minutes, Joveljic had provided the assist for Chicharito’s equalizer and then, just another three minutes later, he put the Galaxy in front. For both goals, you can see the importance of having the two strikers close together, Joveljic dragging defenders and providing the flick to Chicharito in space for the first, with the latter coming deep and creating a gap behind the Austin backline for the second.
But wait, Joveljic wasn’t finished here. The former Eintracht Frankfurt man put the finishing touches to a swift Galaxy transition after some sloppy play by Austin. And right at the end, he provided a remarkable bicycle-kick assist for Efrain Alvarez to make it 4-1.
33 minutes, two goals, two assists, one ridiculous comeback, and a little bit of history for Joveljic. Surely Vanney will consider this partnership again soon?
Honorable mentions: Brian Rodriguez, Luke Haakenson, Romell Quioto, Alejandro Pozuelo, Jeremy Ebobisse, Jesus Ferreira, Eloy Room, Junior Moreno, Lewis Morgan.