The San Jose Earthquakes have been one of the surprise stories in MLS so far this season, but Saturday’s victory over Los Angeles FC will certainly put Luchi Gonzalez’s squad on notice after moving up to fourth place.
San Jose tied LAFC on 18 points apiece following a 2-1 home win at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday night. Cristian Espinoza continued his stellar start to the campaign with two goals including an 83rd minute winner from the penalty spot.
JT Marcinkowski played an important role in the Quakes victory, making six saves to help neutralize a dynamic and lively LAFC attack. The Quakes triumph was their second-straight against LAFC and their third in the past five head-to-head meetings overall.
Elsewhere, Hany Mukhtar stole the show for Nashville SC in a 3-0 shutout victory over the Chicago Fire. The defending league MVP scored his first hat trick of 2023 as Gary Smith’s side moved to third in the Eastern Conference.
Here is a closer look at this week’s Best of MLS:
Player of the Week
Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar stole the show for Gary Smith’s squad in an important 3-0 shutout result over the Chicago Fire.
The reigning MVP scored a hat trick, including two penalty kicks and a 91st minute insurance goal against the struggling Fire. Mukhtar also won four duels, drew the most fouls (3), and registered four shots on target.
With five goals scored in his last four appearances, Mukhtar is definitely finding his groove for the Eastern Conference club.
Josef Martinez and Brian White earned Honorable Mention nods for their performances this week.
Goal of the Week
Josef Martinez finally got off the mark for Inter Miami, and of course, it came against his former team, Atlanta United.
The Venezuelan registered his 99th and 100th MLS goals in the match, surpassing Bradley Wright-Phillips as the fastest player to eclipse the century mark. His second goal of the match proved to be important as well as Inter Miami avoided a late Atlanta United surge in a 2-1 home triumph.