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.

Seattle Sounders FC Acquire Heber from New York City FC

Heber is sounding off…

Seattle Sounders FC have acquired the 31-year-old Brazilian professional footballer from New York City FC on Thursday for at least $400,000 in General Allocation Money.

Heber,NYCFC can receive an additional $150,000 in GAM if certain performance metrics are met. Heber is under contract for 2023 with a club option for 2024.

Heber recorded 24 goals and six assists in 70 matches (38 starts) over the past four seasons for NYCFC.

“I’d like to welcome Heber to Seattle and look forward to seeing him in preseason camp,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said in the news release. “You always need players that can score, and Heber has been goal-dangerous throughout his entire career. I can’t wait for him to get to work with our coaches and his new teammates to add another strong piece to our attacking group.”

Heber spent nine-plus seasons in overseas leagues before joining NYCFC on a permanent transfer from Croatian club NK Rijeka in March 2019. He was an immediate force, scoring 15 regular-season goals in his first MLS campaign.

Heber played in just 12 games in 2020 as he tore the ACL in his right knee during a match against Toronto FC on September 23, 2020. The recovery and rehab process limited him to seven regular-season matches in 2021.

NYCFC won the 2021 MLS Cup, but Heber saw action in just one of the four postseason matches. He did not play in the title-winning match against the Portland Timbers.

Last season, he scored eight goals in 29 matches (nine starts) before NYCFC was eliminated from the playoffs by the Philadelphia Union in the semifinals.

Heber said he was sad to leave NYCFC but eager for a new opportunity.

“I love this Club and this City, since I arrived in 2019, I’ve felt completely at home,” Heber said through NYCFC. “Despite the ups and downs, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here for what we have been able to accomplish as a team. Being able to win trophies for New York City and its amazing fans is something I will always treasure.

“I would like to thank my teammates, the medical team and everyone at the Club for all the support you gave me while I was returning from injury. I couldn’t have done it without you and I now feel as fit and strong as ever. I am excited by the new challenge in Seattle and am very happy to be staying in MLS, which is a league I now love. I will always remember my time in New York very fondly and it will always have a very special place in my heart.”

FC Dallas’ Jesus Ferreira Named to 2022 MLS All-Star Game

Jesus Ferreira is getting his all-star moment…

The 21-year-old Colombian professional soccer player, a forward with FC Dallas, is among the 26 players named to the 2022 MLS All-Star Game.

Jesus FerreiraFerrerira will be joined by fellow U.S. men’s national team hopefuls DeAndre YedlinWalker ZimmermanJordan MorrisPaul ArriolaAaron Long and Sean Johnson, along with reigning Major League Soccer award winners Valentin Castellanos and Carles Gil.

For the second year in a row, the MLS All-Star Game will feature a battle against Mexican topflight Liga MX, this time at Minnesota United FC‘s Allianz Field on August 10.

FC Dallas striker Ferreira scored four goals for the USMNT in a 5-0 victory over Grenada last month in the CONCACAF Nations League. At 21, he is the first homegrown designated player in FC Dallas history.

The list also includes Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union), Dayne St. Clair (Minnesota United FC), Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), Alexander Callens (New York City FC), Luciano Acosta (FC Cincinnati)Sebastian Driussi (Austin FC), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Kamal Miller (CF Montréal), Diego Palacios (LAFC), Kai Wagner (Philadelphia Union), Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC), Darlington Nagbe (Columbus Crew), Emanuel Reynoso (Minnesota United FC), Ilie Sanchez (LAFC), Paul Arriola (FC Dallas), Taxiarchis Fountas (D.C. United), Raul Ruidiaz (Seattle Sounders FCCarlos Vela (LAFCJavier Hernandez (LA Galaxy), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC).

The Liga MX All-Stars include Julio Furch (Atlas), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres), Jordan Carrillo (Santos Laguna), Heriberto Jurado (Necaxa), Luis Chavez (Pachuca), Angel Mena (Leon), Julian Quinones (Atlas), Aldo Rocha (Atlas), Kevin Alvarez (Pachuca), Diego Barbosa (Atlas), Hugo Nervo (Atlas), William Tesillo (Leon), Oscar Ustari (Pachuca) and Camilo Vargas (Atlas).

The 19,600-seat stadium was previously revealed as the venue for the interleague exhibition last October, along with the news that Minnesota United’s Adrian Heath would be the coach for the MLS All-Star roster.

The 2022 All-Star Game (kickoff scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET) will be broadcast live on ESPN in the United States in English, as well as ESPN throughout Mexico and Latin America in Spanish.

In the first All-Star Game meeting between MLS and Liga MX last August, MLS walked away with a narrow win through penalties at LAFC‘s Banc of California Stadium.

Following a 1-1 draw in regulation time, MLS claimed a 3-2 shootout victory thanks to a penalty-winning goal from then-FC Dallas and current U.S. men’s national team striker Ricardo Pepi.

Since announcing a partnership in 2018, Liga MX and MLS have worked together through not only the All-Star Game but also collaborations like the Campeones Cup and Leagues Cup.

Diego Rossi Wins MLS is Back Tournament’s Golden Boot Award

It’s Diego Rossi’s golden moment…

The 22-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer and Los Angeles FC forward has won the MLS is Back Tournament’s Golden Boot award.

Diego Rossi

Rossi scored seven goals in five tournament matches to earn the trophy.

The highlight of Rossi’s tournament performance came on Saturday, July 18 in LAFC’s 6-2 victory over El Tráfico rival LA Galaxy when he scored four times, becoming the 13th player in MLS history to achieve the feat.

Rossi’s five combined goals and assists in that match tied the all-time league record, becoming the first player to accomplish this twice in his MLS career.

He also scored a goal in LAFC’s opening 3-3 draw against the Houston Dynamo on July 13 and scored a brace in the club’s 4-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC on July 27 in the knockout round.

By winning the Golden Boot, Rossi has earned $10,000 for the LAFC Academy through the ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ program, a multi-year initiative launched by Audi and dedicated to expanding the breadth of academy resources through contributions toward player education, housing and transportation.

Of Rossi’s seven goals, five came in the tournament’s group stage and count toward the regular season. The Uruguayan leads the league in the race for the 2020 MLS Golden Boot with six regular season goals entering return to play in home markets.