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Expected Goals: Upcoming Milestones for Matchday 10

April 18, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

Chara's Climb Reaches the Summit

Since making his MLS debut on April 23, 2011, Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara has become a legend in the city and across the league, becoming an MLS All-Star and MLS Cup champion. Across his 14-year career, Chara has appeared in 375 regular-season matches with the Timbers and sits just one game shy of tying San Jose Earthquakes great Chris Wondolowski (376 games) for the most matches played with a single club in MLS history. Only five players in league annals have appeared in more than 350 regular-season matches with a single club - Wondolowski, Chara, Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake, 369), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City, 355), and Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake, 350).

With an appearance against the Columbus Crew on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV), Chara would tie the mark set by Wondolowski in his final MLS match on November 7, 2021. The 38-year-old standout would then be positioned to break the record the following week, as the Timbers travel to BMO Stadium to take on LAFC on April 27 (10:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV).

Messi Making His Mark in Miami

Set to appear in just his 12th MLS regular-season game, Inter Miami CF forward Lionel Messi has made a massive impact in the early stages of his career with the club, scoring six goals and adding seven assists, including at least one goal in four consecutive matches this season. The eight-time Ballon d'Or winner has been unstoppable on the field in 2024 and has recorded multiple goal contributions in four of his five matches played this year.

With two or more goal contributions against Nashville SC on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV), Messi would become the first player in league history to record five matches with multiple goal contributions in their first six games of a season. The last player to record four games with multiple contributions in their first six games of a season was Carlos Vela in 2019, who took home MLS MVP honors following that season.

Benteke Banging It in for D.C. United

Tied with four other players atop the Golden Boot presented by Audi leaderboard through Matchday 9, D.C. United striker Christian Benteke has scored six goals in six matches for the club, accounting for 50 percent of the team's goals in 2024. The Belgian forward has scored in both of his last two matches and has goals in three of his last four games.

With a score against New York City FC on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV), Benteke would become the fifth player in club history to score at least seven goals in his first seven games of a season. He would join Raúl Díaz Arce (nine goals in 1997), Jamie Moreno (seven goals in 1997 and 2000), and Roy Lassiter (seven goals in 1999) as the only D.C. United players to accomplish the feat.

Dynamic Dynamo Off to Hot Start in Houston

Having embraced a "cowboy" mentality under second-year head coach Ben Olsen, Houston Dynamo FC is off to a hot start in 2024 and currently sits in third place in the Western Conference with 13 points (4-2-1). Behind the strong start has been a balanced attack that has featured six different goal scorers, including a club-high three from 22-year-old forward Ibrahim Aliyu in his second MLS season.

With a win against in-state rival Austin FC on Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV), the Dynamo would own the second-best eight-game start in club history, trailing only the 2019 season (19 points, 6-1-1). Houston has won four of their last five matches and will look to win five of six matches for the first time since March 16 through May 4, 2019.

Evander Emerging as a Threat in Portland

After signing a Designated Player contract with the Timbers ahead of the 2023 season, Evander has emerged in year two for the club with a team-high four goals and three assists through six matches in 2024. The Brazilian midfielder has scored in three straight matches for the club and has been a key contributor on an offense that ranks second in the Western Conference with 16 goals scored this season.

With a goal or an assist against the Columbus Crew on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV), Evander would tie Diego Valeri (eight in 2017) for the most goal contributions by a Timbers player in their first seven games of a season. Valeri, the leading goal scorer in club history, was named the league's Most Valuable Player that season, while also taking home Best XI and All-Star honors.

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Major League Soccer Stories from April 18, 2024

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