🥉Julio Cascante (Austin FC)
A domineering and calming presence in Josh Wolff’s backline since their inaugural campaign, Cascante’s influence was all over Austin FC’s 3-0 victory over intrastate rivals, FC Dallas.
Cascante’s defending was once again superb, putting himself in proper positions to stifle the Dallas attack. Renowned for his aerial presence, the 29-year-old was a force in the air, winning all three of his aerial duels and contributing on set pieces. In the 7th minute, Cascante sent a header wide left before deflecting a shot from a corner into Ethan Finlay’s path for an assist in the 17th minute.
Dallas fared little better on the ground as Cascante scoured the right side of the pitch, sniffing out shots and loose balls while creating turnovers with his press.
The Costa Rican was also a major facilitator for Austin, starting several attacks from the backline. Cascante completed 10-of-14 long balls, springing the Austin attack forward.
🥈Damir Kreilach (Real Salt Lake)
It’s been a rough season for Salt Lake’s skipper as he returns from a back injury and surgery that ended his 2022 campaign. During Real Salt Lake’s 3-1 win at St. Louis City, the 34-year-old looked like his 2021 self.
Kreilach’s brace made all the difference. With the score tied 1-1 at halftime, Kreilach notched his first goal shortly after the restart in the 48th minute. Finally, the Croatian iced the game in the 66th minute from just inside the box.
🥇Alan Pulido (Sporting KC)
With four goals and an assist in his previous three games going into last night’s clash with LA Galaxy, Alan Pulido has been one of the most in-form forwards in the league. Against a struggling Galaxy squad, Pulido would continue the hot streak.
A heroic brace from the Mexican salvaged a draw on the road, as the Western Conference matchup ended 2-2.
Right off the bat, Sporting’s attack was ravenous, overwhelming the Galaxy backline en route to 21 shots attempted. Pulido himself accounted for six of those shots, including the opener in the 12th minute and a penalty to equalize in injury time.
Honorable Mentions: Andrew Brody (RSL), Hector Herrera (HOU), José Martínez (PHI), Ben Bender (CHA), Luciano Acosta (FCC), Mateusz Bogusz (LAFC), Thorleifur Úlfarsson (HOU), Gabriel Pereira (NYCFC)