Matchday Honors

2024 MLS NEXT Pro Matchweek 9 Honors

MW 9 Honors

Matchweek 9 of the 2024 MLS NEXT Pro season was headlined by a dominant derby win for Timbers2, a heroic second-half performance from Sporting KC II striker Beto Avila, and a second-straight goalscoring performance for 17-year-old Stefan Chirila.

Here's a look at the top-performing player, team, and Rising Star of Matchweek 9:

MLS NEXT Pro Team of Matchweek 9: Timbers2


Timbers2 enjoyed back-to-back victories for the first time in 2024.

Serge Dinkota's squad rolled to a 4-1 victory over Tacoma Defiance on Friday, scoring early and often in the eventual triumph. Blake Pope scored twice in a nine-minute span to give Timbers2 an early 2-0 advantage before Josh Penn extended the hosts lead to 3-0 in the 16th minute.

Noah Santos added the hosts' fourth and final goal of the match, giving Timbers2 a statement victory on home soil.

24-year-old goalkeeper Trey Muse played his part as well, registering seven saves in between the posts.

With the result, Timbers2 jumped up to seventh place in the Western Conference standings on 13 points.

MLS NEXT Pro Player of Matchweek 9: Beto Avila (Sporting KC II)


Sunday marked a bounce-back result for Sporting KC II, with Beto Avila stealing the show.

Avila scored twice in a nine-minute span to help Benny Feilhaber's squad earn a 2-1 home victory over Colorado Rapids 2.

After watching Rapids 2 grab a 1-0 lead, Sporting KC II buckled down and got to business. Kamron Habibullah set up Avila for his equalizing goal in the 72nd minute, making it 1-1 with 18+ minutes to go.

Avila added his second goal in quick succession, this time receiving an upfield pass from Habibullah before slotting home down the middle of the net. The 23-year-old now has five goals to his name this season, helping SKC II jump to third in the Western Conference table.

Avila and Habibullah have been a strong 1-2 punch this season and SKC II will need more from them if they want to continue their rise in the standings.

MLS NEXT Rising Star of Matchweek 9: Stefan Chirila (FC Cincinnati 2)

FCC2 1

FC Cincinnati 2's unbeaten run was extended to four matches on Sunday with 17-year-old Stefan Chirila playing the hero against rivals Columbus Crew 2.

Chirila scored the winning goal for FCC2 in a 1-0 road triumph at Field. It marked the second-straight goalscoring performance for Chirila, who continues to grow as a key contributor in the squad.

Ben Stitz played Chirila in towards goal in the 13th mintue before the young attacker chipped a right-footed shot into the bottom-left corner.

FCC2 would hang on for a crucial three points while Chirila delivered his latest positive performance in the starting lineup. Chirila also won three individual duels and registered four shots on target.

Up next for FCC2 is a trip to New York Red Bulls II on May 19.