After a bounceback win over one of Major League Soccer’s consistently excellent franchises, Nashville SC has been recognized with a member of the Team of the Week for the 20th matchdate – and probably not the one you think.
Leal provided the service that ultimately resulted in Nashville’s only goal of the evening, pickpocketing Sounders DP Nico Lodeiro and firing a longball to CJ Sapong, which Sapong ultimately square for a Mukhtar finish. Leal also took three shots, completed three dribbles, and led Nashville with nine takeaways.
Hany Mukhtar and Joe Willis received Player of the Week votes in North American Soccer Reporters’ POTW voting, but were on the bench and not recognized(!), respectively. In Mukhtar’s case, it’s understandable – if he counts as a forward, getting him onto the list over three players who scored multiple goals apiece was going to be difficult. But neither keeper who made the team ahead of Willis accomplished a clean sheet (Gallese let in a goal in a game his team didn’t win, Marcinkowski let in two), and neither made the SportsCenter Top 10, either.
Willis also received multiple Player of the Week votes (including my second-place ballot). Ultimately it’s small potatoes. Just weird. Also made me re-write a whole story I had ready to go.
Nashville as a team has had 14 members of a TOTW so far, snd this is Leal’s second of the year. Hany Mukhtar was previously named named in weeks 8, 12, 14, and 16. Gary Smith made the cut in Weeks One and 14, midfielder Aníbal Godoy joined Smith on the list in Week One, Walker Zimmerman got the nod after Week Four, Dave Romney and Leal in Week Six, and Romney again in Week 10. CJ Sapong represented the club on the Week 13 list.