League MVP Hany Mukhtar of Nashville SC and Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake of the Philadelphia Union highlight this season’s MLS Best XI team, announced Wednesday.
Mukhtar won the Golden Boot with 23 goals and also had 11 assists while making the Best XI for the second straight season. Blake had a microscopic 0.76 goals-against average and recorded 15 shutouts while earning Best XI honors for the third time.
Blake’s strong performance helped Philadelphia reach Saturday’s MLS Cup against Los Angeles FC. Three of his teammates joined him on the squad — defenders Jakob Glesnes and Kai Wagner and midfielder Daniel Gazdag — as the Union tied for the second most players on the squad behind the former Miami Fusion (five in 2001).
LAFC star Carlos Vela (12 goals, 12 assists) was one of the three forwards. It is Vela’s third Best XI selection.
The other forwards are Jesus Ferreira (18 goals) of FC Dallas and Brandon Vazquez (18 goals) of FC Cincinnati. It is the first Best XI selection for both players.
Joining Mukhtar and Gazdag (22 goals) in the midfield is Sebastian Driussi (22 goals) of Austin FC and Luciano Acosta (10 goals, league-high 19 assists) of Cincinnati. It is the first Best XI honor for Gazdag and Driussi and the second for Acosta.
Nashville’s Walker Zimmerman joins first-time honorees Glesnes and Wagner on the backline. Zimmerman is the fifth player to earn four consecutive Best XI selections. The others are Chris Armas (1998-2001), Landon Donovan (2008-12), Marco Etcheverry (1996-99), and Robbie Keane (2012-15).
Glesnes and Wagner (15 assists) were the defensive backbones for a Philadelphia squad that allowed just 26 goals, the fewest since the MLS went to a 34-game season in 2011.
The Best XI was determined by a panel of media, MLS players, and technical staffers.
2022 MLS Best XI
Goalkeeper: Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
Defenders: Jakob Glesnes (Philadelphia Union), Kai Wagner (Philadelphia Union), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)
Midfielders: Luciano Acosta (FC Cincinnati), Sebastian Driussi (Austin FC), Dániel Gazdag (Philadelphia Union), Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC)
Forwards: Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas), Brandon Vázquez (FC Cincinnati), Carlos Vela (LAFC)
–Field Level Media