NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 15, 2021) – Nashville Soccer Club in conjunction with Major League Soccer have announced that three players on the Nashville SC roster have been named finalists for MLS End of the Year Awards for the 2021 season.
Midfielder Hany Mukhtar has been named a finalist for the Landon Donovan MVP, while defender Walker Zimmerman has been named a finalist for MLS Defender of the Year and Joe Willis is a finalist for the Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year.
The finalists (in alphabetical order) below earned the most votes in polling among three voting groups:
- Current MLS players.
- MLS club technical staffs (coaches, technical directors/GMs).
- Select group of media members.
2021 Major League Soccer Award Finalists
Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Finalists
Valentín Castellanos (New York City FC)
Carles Gil (New England Revolution)
HANY MUKHTAR (NASHVILLE SC)
João Paulo (Seattle Sounders FC)
Dániel Sallói (Sporting Kansas City)
Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists
Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
JOE WILLIS (NASHVILLE SC)
Defender of the Year Finalists
Yeimar Gómez (Seattle Sounders FC)
Miles Robinson (Atlanta United)
WALKER ZIMMERMAN (NASHVILLE SC)
Mukhtar was electrifying in his second MLS season in Nashville, scoring 16 goals. Mukhtar registered 28 goals + assists, the most of any player in MLS this season. Mukhtar also secured the fastest hat trick in MLS history with three goals in the span of six minutes on July 17 against Chicago Fire FC.
The MVP finalist was selected to the MLS Team of the Week seven times this season and was selected as the MLS Player of the Week twice. Mukhtar finished the season strong scoring nine goals and registering eight assists in his final 15 matches of the season. Mukhtar finished the regular season tied for fifth in MLS in goals, tied for fourth in assists with 12, tied for second in shots on target with 43 and finished fifth in shots with 94.
2021 MLS All-Star and 2020 MLS Defender of the Year Walker Zimmerman anchored Nashville SC to a goals-against average of 0.96 in his appearances this season. Zimmerman ranked first among qualified Nashville SC outfield players in duel percentage at 65% and led Nashville SC players in headed duel percentage with 73.2%. Zimmerman set a new career-high in assists this season and was selected to MLS Team of the Week four times this season.
Zimmerman was a mainstay not only at the club level, but for the United States Men’s National Team as well, in this calendar year alone, making eight appearances for the USMNT, 21 overall. In his most recent call-up Zimmerman started and played the full 90 minutes against Mexico and anchored the United States backline to a shutout in another ‘Dos A Cero’ victory for the States on Nov. 12. Zimmerman served as the captain during the first round of the 2021 Gold Cup for the United States and wore the armband once again during WCQ matches.
Goalkeeper Joe Willis had a true career-year in 2021 for Nashville SC, setting career-highs in games started and played (34), minutes (3,060), shutouts (13), wins (12), saves (100), shutouts (13) and goals against average (0.97).
Willis was tied as the league leader in clean sheets with 13 marking back-to-back seasons where Willis finished an MLS season as the leader in this category after earning nine shutouts last year, For Willis, his GAA was tied for the best in MLS among players who played 27 matches or more.
Nashville SC clinched a berth in the 2021 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, securing the three seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 12W-4L-18D and 54 points. Nashville is set to square off against Orlando City SC in the First Round of the playoffs on Nov. 23.
Kickoff for Nashville’s playoff match against Orlando is slated for 7 p.m. CT and will be televised on FS1. Fans interested in purchasing tickets to Nashville SC’s Round One Audi MLS Cup Playoff match can visit NashvilleSC.com or NashvilleSC.com/Tickets.
Visit www.NashvilleSC.com and follow the club’s social channels on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to keep up with Nashville SC.