MLS and LAFC announced today that Club forward Dénis Bouanga was voted the Major League Soccer Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire for Matchday 7 of the 2023 MLS season.
Bouanga recorded his first MLS career hat trick, scoring all three goals during the club’s 3-0 victory at home against Austin FC on Saturday, April 8. Bouanga became the fifth different player in LAFC history to produce a hattrick and the first to do so since Carlos Vela against the Colorado Rapids on February 26, 2022. Since their inaugural season in 2018, LAFC leads Major League Soccer with eight hat tricks, three more than the next-closest teams over the span (Philadelphia Union and Atlanta United, five). The club’s five different players to register hat tricks are the most in the league since 2018.
LAFC opened the scoring in the 40th minute when Stipe Biuk’s blocked shot fell to Bouanga, who controlled the ball and fired a thunderous shot off the inside of the post and into the net. In the 58th minute, a LAFC corner deflected into the path of Bouanga, who sprinted underneath the ball and lasered an electric volley past the Austin goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead . Ten minutes later, the Gabonese international finished off his hat trick after Sergi Palencia played an inch-perfect cross to the back post for him to slide his finish into the roof of the net for a 3-0 victory.
Bouanga, who has 11 goals in nine games across all competitions this year, leads LAFC and ranks second in MLS with six goals this season, including a pair of multi-score games in regular season play. With six goals and two assists on the season, Bouanga is tied for second with eight goal contributions, trailing only Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada (nine). His 1.18 goals per 90 minutes average is tied for the third-best among qualifying players.
Bouanga is the first LAFC player to win MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire since Carlos Vela did so on Matchday 1 of 2022. Since entering the league in 2018, LAFC is the only club to have a player win MLS Player of the Matchday in each of the last six seasons (2018-23). Bouanga is also the seventh different player in club history to earn the honor.
LAFC will look to maintain their unbeaten start to the season in El Tráfico when they travel across town to face rivals LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park on Matchday 8 on Sunday, April 16 (4:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass / FOX).
The MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire is selected each matchday of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio, and online media.
Los Angeles Football Club