Denis Bouanga, Colorado Rapids headline the Best of MLS for Week 26

Los Angeles FC snapped its three-match losing streak on Saturday night with Denis Bounaga stealing the show in a much-needed rivalry win.

Bouanga scored twice for the reigning MLS Cup Champions in a 4-2 home victory over rivals LA Galaxy. The Gabon international earned SBI Player of the Week honors after stepping up big time in a crucial result for LAFC.

Bouanga delivered the opening goal for LAFC in the 24th minute after heading home Diego Palacios’ cross into the back of the net.

Although Billy Sharp equalized not long after for the Galaxy, LAFC would claim a 2-1 lead before halftime thanks to Ryan Hollingshead’s long-range finish. Maya Yoshida would help the Galaxy level things a second time after scoring his first goal for the club.

Bouanga’s second and final goal of the night proved to be the winner in the 75th minute. Chris Mavinga’s defensive error allowed Bouangha to pounce on the mistake before slotting into an empty net.

Timothy Tillman slammed the door shut on any comeback attempt after finishing Mario Gonzalez’s pass for a 4-2 result.

Bouanga now has 14 league goals in 25 appearances, which leads LAFC by a wide margin.

Ramiro Enrique, Saba Lobzhanidze, and Tim Melia also earned Player of the Week nominations for their performances in Week 26.

Here is a closer look at the rest of Week 26’s Best of MLS:

Team of the Week

Not much has gone right for the Colorado Rapids in 2023, but the Western Conference club was able to give their fans a major boost on Saturday night.

The Rapids claimed a 2-1 home victory over third-place New England Revolution, snapping a four-match losing streak and a seven-match winless run in the process. Cole Bassett delivered the breakthrough goal for the Rapids before Calvin Harris added an insurance tally just 14 minutes later.

Serbian goalkeeper Marko Ilic made five saves in the victory, despite conceding a 92nd minute consolation goal to Omar Gonzalez.

The Rapids sit bottom of the Western Conference, but might gain some needed confidence heading into the final weeks of the 2023 regular season.

Atlanta United, Sporting KC, and the San Jose Earthquakes also earned Team of the Week Honorable Mentions.

Goal of the Week

Inter Miami’s unbeaten run under Tata Martino came to a disappointing ending Saturday night in Atlanta, but Leonardo Campana did deliver one of the more clever individual efforts in recent weeks.

Campana’s never-say-die attitude in the 25th minute helped break the deadlock at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Dickson Arroyo’s long-range shot ricocheted off the crossbar before Campana did the rest himself in the Atlanta United 18-yard box.

Campana picked up the rebound before flicking a pass over Miles Robinson and volleying into the top corner of Brad Guzan’s net. It was a stellar effort from the Uruguayan, who finished the night with two goals in a 5-2 defeat.