NEW YORK, N.Y. / NASHVILLE, TENN. (Nov. 2, 2022) – Nashville Soccer Club in conjunction with Major League Soccer announced today that the 2022 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Hany Mukhtar and United States Men’s National Team Defender Walker Zimmerman have been named to MLS’ 2022 Best XI presented by Continental Tire.
The MLS Best XI is a collection of elite performers from the 2022 MLS regular season and one of the most prestigious annual honors a player can receive. The Best XI recognizes the league’s top players at each position as determined by media, MLS players, and MLS club technical staffs.
Mukhtar secured his second consecutive MLS Best XI honor after being named the league’s MVP yesterday (footage can be found here. The German attacker also secured the 2022 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi after scoring 23 goals this season, becoming the first German born player to earn both awards.
With 34 goal contributions in 2022 (23 goals and 11 assists), Mukhtar was the first player to lead the league in consecutive seasons since Sebastian Giovinco (2015-‘16). The 27-year-old scored or assisted in a sensational 65.4% of Nashville’s goals in 2022, which was the most by a single player in MLS this season.
The MVP's 62 combined goals and assists from 2021-22 are the fifth most over a two-year span in MLS history. Since the start of 2021, Mukhtar’s 62 combined goals and assists are 16 more than the next-closest player (FC Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta, 46).
The German had a historic month of August, becoming just the fourth player in MLS history to total at least 12 goal contributions (eight goal, four assists) in a single calendar month and was named the MLS Player of the Month as he added Team of the Week awards in Weeks 28 and 29 that month alone. Mukhtar has been named MLS Player of the Week six times since joining MLS in 2020, the most in MLS in that span.
Walker Zimmerman joins the MLS Best XI squad yet again after anchoring a Nashville SC backline that conceded the fourth-fewest goals in MLS this season (41) and the fewest road goals allowed in the league (20).
The two-time MLS Defender of the Year becomes the fifth player in MLS history to be named to the Best XI in four consecutive seasons joining Chris Armas (1998-2001), Landon Donovan (2008-12), Marco Etcheverry (1996-99), and Robbie Keane (2012-15). Zimmerman’s four MLS Best XI selections are the most among active MLS players, while ranking tied for fifth all-time.
Zimmerman represented Nashville SC at the 2022 MLS All-Game in Minnesota, starting on the backline for the MLS squad. At the international level, Zimmerman has been at the forefront of the United States Men’s National Team, earning 10 caps this calendar year, tied with Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Antonee Robinson for the team lead in caps earned in 2022. The anchor of the National Team’s backline is currently in position to represent the Stars and Stripes in the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ in Qatar starting on Nov. 20 through Dec. 18.