Week 11 of the 2022 MLS season is in the books and some of the league’s best are really starting to spread their wings.
The Portland Timbers crushed struggling Sporting Kansas City by a record scoreline, the Seattle Sounders finally got their domestic campaign going after CCL success, and Atlanta United’s attack started to click, even if they continue to lose focus at the back.
Of course, the narratives are spun by the players, so here’s our top five from MLS over the weekend.
After failing to score in his first four MLS matches, Adam Buksa has now found the net in each of his last five. The Poland international took his recent resurgence to a new level on Sunday, hitting a brace as the New England Revolution took a 2-2 draw from Atlanta United.
Buksa was a physical menace all afternoon, causing havoc for center-backs Alan Franco and Alex De John. But it was his movement and ice-cold composure to finish twice that impressed most, putting the Revs into a 2-1 lead having trailed early on.
With six goals, Buksa is now just three adrift of the Golden Boot race summit after this brace and, frighteningly for MLS defenders, he’s only getting better.
Cristian Roldan is playing with his foot to the floor in every single game right now and at some point, he’s going to need a break. Easier said than done when Joao Paulo is sidelined for the season, of course.
But taking this game in isolation, the USMNT midfielder was a force of nature as the Seattle Sounders picked up a much-needed 3-1 win at home to Minnesota United.
Roldan created three chances on the day and assisted Nico Lodeiro’s clincher. But it was his show-stopping range from distance to put Seattle ahead that grabbed the headlines, Roldan turning in space on the edge of the box before unleashing hell on Loons ‘keeper Dayne St. Clair.
Clean and progressive with the ball, combative without it, and responsible for two game-winning moments, the Sounders need more of this from Roldan if they’re to translate their CCL success to MLS.
FC Dallas got the job done early against the LA Galaxy, taking a 3-0 lead inside 23 minutes and restricting their opponents to just one 67th-minute consolation.
As he so often is now, Jesus Ferreira was front and center of the action, scoring a brace either side of another for USMNT teammate Paul Arriola.
Ferreira’s first saw him get between two LA Galaxy defenders and into a position to simply tap home a Jader Obrian cross. His second was peak 2022 Ferreira racing behind the Galaxy backline with so much speed that he caused goalkeeper Jonathan Bond to wipe out his own defender.
That’s Ferreira in a nutshell: electric pace, smart movement, clinical finishing. He’s top of the Golden Boot standings and leading FC Dallas to critical victories.
Atlanta United’s expensively assembled attack is finally clicking into gear.
While Buksa frustrated the Five Stripes and forced them to leave with a point, Thiago Almada dazzled supporters with an incredible show of goalscoring and playmaking.
The Argentine opened proceedings early on with another golazo – not his first and probably not his last. And following a Buksa-induced setback, Almada sliced the Revs’ defense to allow Luiz Araujo to finish an excellent Atlanta United team move.
And that was just the tip of the iceberg for Almada, who finished the match with five chances created, five shots attempted, and two completed dribbles.
Almada is very quickly starting to repay that MLS-record fee.
Gio Savarese’s men ran out 7-2 winners in the end, setting a new club record for goals in a single match.
As you might expect, Sebastian Blanco was at the center of Portland’s SKC demolition, scoring goals two and three, before assisting the fourth and fifth. Those goals and assists came from the only shots and key passes Blanco provided all game, with the Argentine choosing ruthless quality over sheer quantity.
This is the first time this season we’ve really seen Blanco take hold of an opponent and rip them to shreds. When he does that, he’s still among the best players in MLS and you can bet he’ll do it a few more times before the campaign is out.
Honorable mentions: Nathan Fogaça, Jeremy Ebobisse, Taty Castellanos, Cristhian Paredes, Cristian Espinoza, Lucas Cavallini, Sean Nealis, Luiz Araujo.