Nashville SC in a night that needed their star man to step against the best the Western Conference has to offer, Hany Mukhtar did just that with a hat-trick that gave Nashville a 3-1 victory on Saturday night.
Saturday night’s match was always going to be challenging for Nashville SC when their club captain, Walker Zimmerman, was down in Las Vegas with the USMNT. However, Nashville SC’s Lukas McNaughton was also deemed unavailable. He is nursing an injury he sustained against his former team Toronto FC. MLS journeyman Josh Bauer got the start instead, and to his credit considering the circumstances, he did well.
The first half started slow between St. Louis and Nashville, but it certainly was action and drama filled. Nashville SC’s, Hany Mukhtar, added to his goal involvement tally, a stat that he leads the MLS in by scoring his 11th goal of the year. Mukhtar, like he’s done so many times against teams, found little pockets of space inside the box and when the ball fell to him, there was little doubt if he had the poise to rifle it into the back of the net. However, the home side’s lead was short lived when in the 41st minute St. Louis City’s, Nicholas Gioachini, bundled the ball in the back of the net with what seemed like his elbow. The goal was initially called for offside, but after a long VAR check it was deemed a good goal.
The night ended like how many would have figured because of his form, and that’s Hany Mukhtar on top. Mukhtar would not only convert his second goal of the match via a penalty kick, but he’d put the cherry on top by getting his 4th Hat-Trick since joining Nashville SC. Really what makes Mukhtar so special is that for large parts of this game, he was pretty quiet. The three times he had the chance to punish St. Louis, he did just that. After his three-goal performance tonight, this would mark his 97th appearance and his 56th goal for the club. These are numbers that you do not see from many other players in MLS history.
Nashville will look to defend their 10-match unbeaten streak against CF Montreal on Wednesday as they travel up north.
Patton Cook / WNSR Nashville SC Columnist
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