FC Cincinnati's unforgettable MLS home debut and Wayne Rooney's imperious hat-trick performance headlined Major League Soccer's third week of the season.
The league's newest team played its first match at home and a sold-out Nippert Stadium watched FC Cincinnati demolish the Portland Timbers 3-0, with a trio of FCC players performing well enough to earn spots on Goal's MLS Best XI for the week.
Joining the expansion trio were Los Angeles-based standouts Carlos Vela and Sebastian Lletget, as well as Rooney and teammate Junior Moreno, who helped lead D.C. United to its 5-0 thrashing of Real Salt Lake.
Here is a look at Goal's picks for the best players in MLS Week 3:
It was a quiet week for goalkeepers, with far fewer having standout performances than a week ago. FC Cincinnati's Spencer Richey made some stellar saves to record the shutout in his first match at Nippert Stadium, and he gets the nod.
Seattle's Stefan Frei surrendered two goals in Saturday's 4-2 win against the Chicago Fire, but he also made 10 saves to merit an honorable mention.
Kendall Waston is known as one of the best aerial threats on set pieces in MLS and he delivered once again on Sunday. The Costa Rican scored the first MLS goal at Nippert Stadium, setting off an unforgettable celebration and leading the way to a comfortable win for FC Cincinnati. Waston's teammate, Mathieu Deplagne was excellent playing at left back against the Timbers. He handled his defensive duties well, and added a goal as well.
Gaston Sauro also recorded a winner, netting his second goal of the season to help the Crew to another victory and shutout. Michael Murillo was excellent at right back for the New York Red Bulls in their 4-1 rout of the San Jose Earthquakes.
Sebastian Lletget helped the Galaxy pick up the slack for the missing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romain Alessandrini, scoring a goal and putting in a well-rounded shift in midfield to help hand Minnesota United its first loss of the season. Junior Moreno delivered his best performance since joining D.C. United, covering tons of ground, making several key defensive interventions and also setting up a pair of goals with sharp passes.
Carlos Vela is the lone player from last week's Best 11 to be a repeat selection after his two-goal effort in LAFC's 2-2 draw with New York City FC. Vela's teammate Latif Blessing narrowly missed out on Best 11 honors, and the case can be made that Blessing was LAFC's real MVP on Sunday.
New England's Carles Gil deserves honorable mention for his two-goal effort in New England's loss to Toronto FC, while New York Red Bulls teammates Daniel Royer and Alex Muyl were both outstanding in the Red Bulls' romp over San Jose. Seattle's Victor Rodriguez and Houston's Memo Rodriguez were both worthy candidates for Best 11 honors and narrowly missed out. FC Cincinnati's Allan Cruz scored one of the best goals of the week with his nifty backheel, and also deserved some Best 11 consideration this week.
Wayne Rooney was immense, netting his first MLS hat-trick, and adding an assist for good measure to help D.C. United continue its unbeaten start to the campaign. Alberth Elis didn't garner as many headlines as Rooney, but you can argue he was just as impressive, scoring a goal and setting up two more to help the Houston Dynamo stay undefeated. Montreal's Ignacio Piatti added his own double to lead Montreal to an important road win against Orlando City.
Among those who deserved honorable mention at the forward position this week were Seattle's Raul Ruidiaz, who scored in his third straight match to start the season, as well as NYCFC's Alexandru Mitrita, who found the net for the first time for his new team.