Looking Back at the 2023 MLS Season 

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The 2023 MLS season is in the books. For the second time in four years, the Columbus Crew secured the MLS Cup, defeating Los Angeles FC in a memorable final at Lower.com Field. 

After collecting three Wooden Spoons in four years, FC Cincinnati dominated the regular season to clinch the Supporters’ Shield. However, the playoffs proved to be a step too far for Pat Noonan’s side. 

With another Major League Soccer campaign behind us, now feels like the perfect time to look back at the 2023 MLS season. Below, we cover all the key team and player stats, award winners, betting trends and a whole lot more. 

The Story of the 2023 MLS Season 

  • Dates: February 25 – December 9, 2023 
  • Matches: 493 
  • Goals: 1,359 (2.76 goals per match) 
  • MLS Cup: Columbus Crew 
  • Runner-Up: Los Angeles FC 
  • Supporters’ Shield: FC Cincinnati 
  • Total Attendance: 10,900,804 
  • Average Attendance: 22,111 

The 2023 MLS season started all the way back in February and didn’t finish until December, making it a testing campaign for everyone involved. Thankfully, the season dished up plenty of goals, finishing with an average of 2.76 goals per match. 

FC Cincinnati finished atop the Eastern Conference, while St. Louis City SC finished atop the Western Conference. After winning the Supporters’ Shield, Cincinnati reached the Conference Finals, but St. Louis ended up falling in round one of the playoffs. 

On Saturday, December 9, the Columbus Crew hosted Los Angeles FC in the 2023 MLS Cup Final. First-half goals from Cucho Hernandez and Yaw Yeboah sealed the deal for the Crew, with Denis Bouanga scoring a late consolation goal for LAFC. 

Columbus won the final 2-1, racking up 62% possession and 14 shots in the process. LAFC won both the MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield in 2022, but they were unable to defend their titles in 2023. 

2023 MLS Season – Team Stats and Betting Trends 

There is no shortage of interesting stats and betting trends to evaluate from the 2023 MLS season. While certain teams dominated for large spells of the campaign, others endured a year to forget. 

BASIC TEAM STATS – 2023 MLS SEASON (REGULAR SEASON ONLY) 

  • Most Points: FC Cincinnati (69) 
  • Fewest Points: Toronto FC (22) 
  • Most Wins: FC Cincinnati (20) 
  • Most Losses: Toronto FC (20) 
  • Most Draws: New York City FC (14), San Jose Earthquakes (14) 
  • Fewest Wins: Toronto FC (4) 
  • Most Goals: Columbus Crew (67) 
  • Fewest Goals: Toronto FC (26), Colorado Rapids (26) 
  • Most Goals Conceded: LA Galaxy (67) 
  • Fewest Goals Conceded: Seattle Sounders (32), Nashville SC (32) 

There is no denying that Cincinnati was the best team during the regular season, as Noonan’s men picked up the most wins and the most points on their way to winning the Supporters’ Shield. By contrast, Toronto FC finished rock bottom of the standings after recording the fewest points, fewest wins, fewest goals and most losses. 

2023 MLS SEASON – KEY BETTING TRENDS 

  • Longest Winning Streak: FC Cincinnati (6) 
  • Longest Unbeaten Streak: FC Cincinnati (10), Nashville SC (10) 
  • Longest Winless Run: Inter Miami (11), New York City FC (11), Toronto FC (11) 
  • Longest Losing Run: Toronto FC (8) 
  • Biggest Home Win: Columbus Crew 6-1 Atlanta United (March 25) 
  • Biggest Away Win: Real Salt Lake 0-4 St. Louis City SC (March 25) 
  • Highest-Scoring Game: St. Louis City SC 6-3 Austin C (August 20) 

Cincy posted a 10-game unbeaten streak between April and June, notching six consecutive victories in the process. Nashville SC also enjoyed a 10-game unbeaten streak between April and June, but Gary Smith’s men endured a run of six defeats in seven matches directly after. 

Interestingly, St. Louis City SC was involved in two of the season’s highest-scoring games. After recording the biggest away victory of the campaign, the team from Missouri thrashed Austin FC 6-3. 

Key Player Stats – 2023 MLS Season 

In this section of our 2023 MLS season review, we highlight the stat leaders for a number of important metrics. From goals and assists to tackles and fouls, let’s pay homage to the top-performing players from the 2023 MLS season. 

2023 MLS SEASON STAT LEADERS 

  • Most Goals: Denis Bouanga, Los Angeles FC (20) 
  • Most Assists: Thiago Almada, Atlanta United (19) 
  • Most Minutes: Carlos Coronel (3,060), Dave Romney (3,060), Brad Stuver (3,060) 
  • Most Shots: Cucho Hernandez, Columbus Crew (165) 
  • Most Shots on Target: Cucho Hernandez, Columbus Crew (58) 
  • Most Tackles Won: Obinna Nwobodo, FC Cincinnati (62) 
  • Most Fouls Committed: Julian Carranza, Philadelphia Union (92) 
  • Most Fouls Suffered: Cesar Araujo, Orlando City (100) 
  • Most Offsides: Christian Benteke, DC United (37) 
  • Most Yellow Cards: Andres Reyes, New York Red Bulls (12) 
  • Most Red Cards: Six Players, Five Clubs (2) 

LAFC’s Denis Bouanga clinched the Golden Boot with 20 goals, scoring three goals more than Cincinnati’s Lucian Acosta and Atlanta United’s Giorgos Giakoumakis. As for assists, Atlanta’s Thiago Almada notched a league-high 19, laying on two more than Houston Dynamo’s Hector Herrera. 

Only three players – Carlos Coronel, Dave Romney and Brad Stuver – played every minute of their team’s regular-season games. Cucho Hernandez registered the most shots and shots on target, while Obinna Nwobodo won the most tackles. 

Who Won the 2023 MLS Season Awards? 

The Major League Soccer end-of-year awards always attract plenty of attention. With dozens of individual prizes up for grabs, many players, coaches and officials are recognized each season. Here are the key award winners in 2023. 

END-OF-YEAR AWARDS – 2023 MLS SEASON 

  • Most Valuable Player: Luciano Acosta (FC Cincinnati) 
  • Golden Boot: Denis Bouanga (Los Angeles FC) 
  • Defender of the Year: Matt Miazga (FC Cincinnati) 
  • Goalkeeper of the Year: Roman Burki (St. Louis City SC) 
  • Coach of the Year: Pat Noonan (FC Cincinnati) 
  • Young Player of the Year: Thiago Almada (Atlanta United) 
  • Newcomer of the Year: Giorgos Giakoumakis (Atlanta United) 
  • Comeback Player of the Year: Alan Pulido (Sporting Kansas City) 
  • Goal of the Year: Luciano Acosta (FC Cincinnati) 
  • Save of the Year: Roman Celentano (FC Cincinnati) 
  • Referee of the Year: Victor Rivas 
  • Assistant Referee of the Year: Ian McKay 

After firing Cincinnati to Supporters’ Shield glory, Luciano Acosta won the Landon Donovan MLS MVP Award. Thanks to a record of 25 goals in 36 games – including 20 goals in 31 regular-season games – LAFC’s Denis Bouanga secured the Golden Boot. 

Other notable winners include Roman Burki, who was named Goalkeeper of the Year, and Matt Miazga, who won the Defender of the Year Award. Unsurprisingly, Pat Noonan was named Coach of the Year for his efforts in Ohio. 

Looking Ahead to the 2024 MLS Season 

The 2023 MLS season may have only just finished, but the next campaign is already on the horizon. The 2024 Major League Soccer season is set to commence in late February, meaning fans and bettors don’t have too long to prepare. 

It is also worth noting that the MLS trade window is now open, with free agency opening before the end of the year. Let’s not forget that we also have the 2024 SuperDraft to look forward to. 

Be sure to stick with Sports Hub for MLS betting advice in the lead-up to the new season. We will take an in-depth look at the outright odds for 2024 and analyze all the leading contenders and potential sleepers.