Mike Meredith/Club and Country
Nashville SC has two representatives on MLS’s top squad this week. Mukhtar contributed a primary assist, a secondary assist, and a Kobe assist while Zimmerman was the primary assister on Nashville’s opening goal and spearheaded a defensive effort that only conceded via penalty.
Mukhtar’s 36th-minute corner kick was headed on by Zimmerman for Fafa Picault to finish at the back post and open the scoring. Mukhtar wouldn’t officially get on the scoresheet in the 56th, but his long-range shot was spilled by Atlanta keeper Clement Diop for Teal Bunbury to bundle home, providing the eventual game-winner. Mukhtar helped seal the deal in second-half stoppage time with an incisive throughball to Jacob Shaffelburg to make the final score 3-1.
Mukhtar completed 15/24 passes and 6/8 dribbles, took four shots (with the Bunbury goal his only on-target), and led the team with 56 touches. He was also fouled three times and won possession on six occasions. He finished second in MLS Player of the Matchdate voting, taking 25% of media ballots and 30.69% of fan ballots for a razor-thin margin of 26.95% for Inter Miami’s Leo Campana to 26.42% for Mukhtar*.
In addition to his assist on the Picault goal, Zimmerman completed 26/28 passes, won all four of his tackles, blocked three shots and won possession four times. He was part of a backline that didn’t concede in the run of play, with Atlanta’s only goal coming via penalty.
The duo repeats a co-honor from Matchdate Six, and this is Mukhtar’s second selection so far this year. Zimmerman was also among the honored for the opening weekend of MLS play. They are the only two Nashville SC players to be selected so far this season, but the Joe Willis hive persists, on the hope that someone from the league office will eventually watch a Nashville SC game.
* Disclosure: I am the president of North American Soccer Reporters and oversee that organization’s POTM voting.