MLS Week 18 best players - ranked | OneFootball

MLS Week 18 best players - ranked

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We've just passed Week 18 in the 2022 MLS season and things are starting to get serious.

The latest round of fixtures saw some truly remarkable scorelines, including DC United's shock 5-3 win over Orlando City, Austin FC beating the Colorado Rapids 3-2 away from home, and the LA Galaxy getting back on track with a 4-0 thrashing of CF Montreal.

It's all feeding into what promises to be an exhilarating race to make the Playoffs and, ultimately, it'll come down to individual moments and performances from the players.

Who made it happen in Week 18? Let's take a look:

5. Rayan Raveloson (LA Galaxy)

The Galaxy really needed something on Monday to snap out of their three-game winless run and, boy, did they get it.Rayan Raveloson was the architect behind their 4-0 win over CF Montreal, netting goals three and four to seal the result. Both goals saw Raveloson arrive late in the box to score unmarked, but his second was particularly eye-catching thanks to the back-heel assist from Sacha Kljestan.Attempting five shots over the 90 minutes, Raveloson probably could have made it a hat-trick, while the Madagascar international was a strong defensive force making four recoveries, two interceptions, and two clearances.

4.

Benji Kikanovic has had to be patient waiting for his chances this season and started for just the fourth time against the Chicago Fire.But the 22-year-old forward certainly made his case for another run in the XI with two second-half goals sealing a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire for San Jose.The first was more comical than anything else, with Kikanovic scoring from close range after no fewer than four Quakes shots rebounded; two off the post one saved by Gabriel Slonina, and another blocked by a defender. Kikanovic should still be given credit for being in the right spot.Kikanovic's second saw him run free behind an exposed Chicago defense before showing brilliant composure to turn and curl the ball into the far corner.After battling and chasing all match, this was just what Kikanovic deserved; he'll now hope to use this performance as a platform for the second half of the season.

3.

Despite his status as MLS Golden Boot holder and leading contender in this year's race - not to mention his transfer interest from Europe - a few eyebrows were raised when Taty Castellanos was put straight back into NYCFC's starting XI against Atlanta United.After all, Brazilian striker Heber did score twice against FC Cincinnati in the week during his absence due to illness.But Castellanos, who was a menace throughout Sunday afternoon, showed exactly why Nick Cushing couldn't leave him out, finding the net either side of half-time to give his teammates leads they ultimately failed to hold - through no fault of Castellanos'.That moves the Argentine onto 10 MLS goals this season, with no player in the league managing more so far.

When the brakes are off, there's arguably no better player in Major League Soccer than Emanuel Reynoso, at least on an entertainment basis. He'll twist and turn you inside out, provide a barrage of quality balls into the box, and, on occasion, come up with a variety of different goals himself.That's exactly what happened against Real Salt Lake, with Reynoso scoring twice and providing a wonderful assist for Luis Amarilla in a 3-2 win for Minnesota United. That's all on top of creating five chances and completing four dribbles. Pure wizardry.

There was only ever going to be one winner this week.It took Taxi Fountas just eight minutes to fire DC United a 2-0 lead over Orlando City with a brace, before completing his hat-trick shortly after half-time. In fact, it took the Greece international just four shots to net that trio of goals, despite only being on the pitch for 59 minutes - that's all he needed.Fountas now has nine goals in 10 MLS appearances this season, equalling the league record for goals in that number of matches."He's been that guy for us," DC United interim head coach Chad Ashton said in praise of Fountas after the match. "You know, anytime he gets in and around the goal, and we find him, he's putting the ball in the back into the net. So we've just got to be able to create more chances and get him finding more chances in and around the goal."

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