Mike Meredith/Club and Country
For the first time in 2023 – after coming a single media vote short last week – the reigning MVP has been named player of the week. Hany Mukhtar’s hat trick against Chicago Fire gave him the honor.
Mukhtar took 37.28% pf the total vote (37.96% media, 35.21% fan), earning him a comfortable victory over Inter Miami’s Josef Martinez (who scored twice to beat his former team, Atlanta United, and earned 21.09% total). He is Nashville’s only member of the Team of the Matchdate, with Joe Willis’s sixth clean sheet of the season yet to see him earn a selection.
Mukhtar banged home the eventual game-winner on a penalty (earned by Dax McCarty) in first-half stoppage time. He added a second penalty in the 70th (earned by Jacob Shaffelburg after a layoff from Mukhtar), and then scored the final goal of the match in second-half stoppage time, rebounding home a Fafa Picault shot.
In addition to the goals, Mukhtar took seven other shots, one of which forced a save from Chicago keeper Chris Brady. He completed 25/32 passes, won three fouls, and recovered possession on two occasions. He was second on the team with 62 touches. His 2.53 expected goals (per American Soccer Analysis) were higher than Nashville had accumulated as a team in any game so far this season.
This is the second consecutive week Mukhtar has been named to the Team of the Matchdate. He was joined by Walker Zimmerman last week, and that pair was on the team together after Matchdate Six, as well. 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.