Luciano Acosta Named 2023 Major League Soccer MVP

Luciano Acosta is Major League Soccer’s all-star player of the year…

The 29-year-old Argentine professional footballer and FC Cincinnati midfielder has been named the 2023 MLS MVP, the league has revealed.

Luciano AcostaAcosta received 60.37% of the vote among players, media and technical staff to easily beat LAFC forward Denis Bouanga, who received 14.97%. 

Atlanta United FC‘s Thiago Almada finished third in the voting with 6.46%.

“I’m very proud of this team,” Acosta said in a video produced by the team that was shot when he was told he had won the award. “I think everybody deserves something this year. We deserve more. We have to give it our all. Let’s go.”

He later joked, “I don’t want to go to practice. I won the MVP.”

Acosta, a Buenos Aires, Argentina, native led the league with 31 goal contributions during the regular season, with 17 goals and 14 assists, and helped Cincinnati to their first Supporters Shield.

Cincinnati remains in contention to claim the MLS Cup, as it faces in-state rivals the Columbus Crew in the Eastern Conference final this Saturday.

Acosta is just the sixth player in league history to record three or more seasons with at least 10 goals and 10 assists.

Acosta is the ninth South American-born player to earn the honor and first since Josef Martínez won the award with Atlanta United in 2018.

Other Argentines to win the award are Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers, 2015), Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus Crew, 2008), and Christian Gómez (D.C. United, 2006).

Acosta has been a prolific attacking player ever since he entered the league in 2016 with D.C. United, scoring 58 goals and adding 78 assists, the most goal contributions by any player in that span.

Only Hany Mukhtar of Nashville SC, last year’s MVP, has made more contributions since Acosta made his Cincinnati debut in 2021.

His 43 regular-season assists since 2021 are the second-most of any MLS player during that time, and only Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro (80) has more regular-season assists than the Cincinnati playmaker since 2016.

Acosta began his professional career with famed Argentine side Boca Juniors, making his professional debut in 2014.

He spent the 2016 campaign on loan with D.C. United before making the move permanent a year later, and went on to score 25 goals in 137 league and cup appearances.

He spent 15 months with Liga MX side Atlas before joining FC Cincinnati.

Jesús Ferreira Named to 26-Man Roster for Major League Soccer’s 2023 MLS All-Star Game

Jesús Ferreira is readying for all-star action…

The 22-year-old Colombian soccer player and United States Men’s National Team star is among the headliners on the 26-man roster for the Major League Soccer 2023 All-Star Game to be played on July 19.

Jesús FerreiraHe joins Jordan MorrisWalker Zimmerman on the roster.

Midfielders Thiago Almada and Hany Mukhtar, forwards Giorgos Giakoumakis and Dénis Bouanga and emerging homegrown stars John Tolkin and Aidan Morris were also among the 26 players to make the cut, announced Tuesday.

The MLS All-Stars, managed by D.C. United coach Wayne Rooney, will take on Arsenal at D.C. United‘s home stadium, Audi Field.

It will mark the second appearance in an MLS All-Star game for Arsenal.

The roster was selected through a combination of fan, player, and media voting (12 players), designations by All-Star head coach Wayne Rooney of host club D.C. United (12 players), and a pair of selections by MLS commissioner Don Garber.

The commissioner’s picks for the 2023 MLS All-Star Game are Chicago Fire FC‘s Kei Kamara and CF Montréal‘s Mathieu Choinière.

One of the league’s most prolific scorers, Kamara sits one goal shy of second place in MLS history with 144 goals, trailing only Landon Donovan (145) and Chris Wondolowski (171).

A homegrown midfielder out of Québec, Choinière has recorded a career-best and team-high five goal contributions for CF Montréal this season and has been a key component of the club’s rebuilt attack in 2023.

Cincinnati, which leads the Supporters’ Shield standings with 43 points, garnered three rosters spots with midfielder Luciano Acosta and defenders Álvaro Barreal and Matt Miazga.

The 2023 MLS All-Star roster by position and selection mechanism:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Roman Bürki (St. Louis CITY SC / voted in), Tyler Miller (D.C. United / coach’s selection), Djordje Petrović (New England Revolution / coach’s selection)

DEFENDERS (7): Álvaro Barreal (FC Cincinnati / voted in), Jon Gallagher (Austin FC / voted in), Ryan Hollingshead (LAFC / coach’s selection), Matt Miazga (FC Cincinnati / voted in), Tim Parker (St. Louis City SC / coach’s selection), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls / coach’s selection), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC / voted in)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Luciano Acosta (FC Cincinnati / voted in), Thiago Almada (Atlanta United / voted in), Mathieu Choinière (CF Montréal / commissioner’s selection), Héctor Herrera (Houston Dynamo FC / coach’s selection), José Martinez (Philadelphia Union / coach’s selection), Aidan Morris (Columbus Crew / voted in), Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC / voted in), Riqui Puig (LA Galaxy / coach’s selection), Lucas Zelarayán (Columbus Crew / coach’s selection)

FORWARDS / WINGERS (7): Christian Benteke (D.C. United / coach’s selection), Dénis Bouanga (LAFC / voted in), Cristian Espinoza (San Jose Earthquakes / coach’s selection), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas / voted in), Giorgos Giakoumakis (Atlanta United / coach’s selection), Kei Kamara (Chicago Fire FC / commissioner’s selection), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC / voted in)

Brian Rodriguez Signs with Club America from LAFC

Brian Rodriguez has joined the Club

The 22-year-old Uruguayan soccer player has officially signed with Club America from LAFC, the MLS club announced.

Brian Rodriguez Club America will pay $6 million, with LAFC also receiving a percentage of any future sale, according to ESPN sources.

“Brian has been an important piece of our attack and a huge reason for all of our success since his arrival in 2019,” LAFC president & general manager John Thorrington said in a team release. “He is a player who is capable of special things, and this move will be a great opportunity for him to continue to develop in a competitive environment.”

Rodriguez, a winger, arrived at LAFC in August of 2019 with big expectations after the MLS side spent around $8 million to secure him from Penarol and make him a young designated player.

Rodriguez, a three-time member of the league’s 22-Under-22 list, helped push his team to the Supporters’ Shield in his first season. In 2021, he had a brief stint on loan with Almeria in Spain’s second division.

He has found his place threatened, though, by the summer arrivals of forwards Gareth Bale and Denis Bouanga.

Rodriguez told TUDN earlier this month that he would be open to a move to Club America, noting that it “would be a great leap.”

The winger will look to regain the attention of Uruguay‘s national team after being left out of World Cup qualifiers and friendlies in 2022.

Rodriguez first debuted with Uruguay in 2019, but has failed to earn international minutes since late last year. Later this year, Uruguay will kick-off their World Cup run with group stage matches against South Korea, Portugal and Ghana.

National team manager Diego Alonso previously coached in Liga MX with Pachuca and Monterrey, as well as with Inter Miami in MLS.

At Club America, Rodriguez will join fellow Uruguayans Jonathan RodriguezSebastian Caceres and Federico Vinas.

The giants from Mexico City currently sit third in the 2022 Apertura standings after winning its last five games

LAFC, along with Rodriguez, recently met Club America in a friendly on August 3 at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium. In a double-header friendly that began with LA Galaxy defeating Chivas 2-0, Club America narrowly beat LAFC on penalties after a 0-0 draw in regulation time.

Neymar Leads Paris Saint-Germain to Coupe de France Win with Sole Goal Against Saint-Etienne

Neymar’s celebrating a big kick…

The 28-year-old Brazilian professional footballer and Paris Saint-Germain forward kicked a goal early in the game to give his team a 1-0 win over 10-man Saint-Etienne on Friday in a near empty stadium.

Neymar & Paris Saint-Germain

Neymar’s goal gave PSG the Coupe de France as French football came out of a four-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Neymar scored on the rebound in the 14th minute after PSG striker Kylian Mbappe sprinted clear and saw his shot blocked by goalkeeper Jessy Moulin, with only 5,000 fans in the 80,000-seater Stade de France due to strict health protocols.

Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron had met the players on the pitch but kept his distance and wore a face mask.

The atmosphere in the run-up to the first professional game in France after the long hiatus was far from festive with only a handful of people around the stadium before the match.

The contest got off to an eventful start with Yvann Macon felling Neymar in the opening seconds to earn a yellow card and St Etienne’s Denis Bouanga hitting the post in the fifth minute.

But it was the Parisians who scored when Neymar pounced on Moulin’s save to fire in.

Mbappe was injured in the 26th minute from a rough challengeby Saint-Etienne captain Loic Perrin, who was sent off.

“We won the final and that is what matter(s),” PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said. His team had lost last year’s final to Stade Rennes on penalties.

Tuchel was also not happy with the way Saint-Etienne had played from the start.

“It was complicated with all the fouls to Thilo Kehrer, Neymar and Mbappe. In the last three matches against Saint-Etienne they get a red card in the first 30 minutes. I don’t know what is being said in their dressing room. It is horrible I can’t understand it.

“We won and we have a lot of things to improve, to talk about and analyze.”

With Ligue 1 champions PSG chasing a quadruple of titles 

this season, the few fans in the stands breathed a sigh of relief when Mbappe returned on crutches to the bench after the interval, joking and laughing with his teammates.