Major League Soccer announced the 2021 MLS Best XI on Thursday morning, including Nashville SC’s Walker Zimmerman and Hany Mukhtar.
Mukhtar makes his first Best XI appearance after a historic campaign, leading the league with a combined 28 goals and assists in the regular season. Mukhtar added three goals in the postseason, including a brace in a 3-1 Round One victory over Orlando City SC. Mukhtar is a finalist for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award, with the winner to be announced at a later date.
Zimmerman’s inclusion is his third-consecutive selection in the Best XI, making him just the third defender in league history to make the team in three consecutive years.
Zimmerman is just the second player in MLS history to make the best XI three consecutive years while playing for different teams. He was named to the Best XI in 2019 with Los Angeles FC and again in 2020 and 2021 with Nashville SC. The only other player in MLS history to do it was Dwayne De Rosario. The Canadian midfielder did it twice, first in 2005-2007 with San Jose Earthquakes and Houston Dynamo, and then again in 2009-2011 with Toronto FC and DC United.
2021 MLS Best XI
Goalkeeper: Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
Defenders: Yeimar Gómez Andrade (Seattle Sounders FC), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)
Midfielders: Tajon Buchanan (New England Revolution), Carles Gil (New England Revolution), Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC), João Paulo (Seattle Sounders FC)
Forwards: Gustavo Bou (New England Revolution), Valentín Castellanos (New York City FC), Raúl Ruidíaz (Seattle Sounders FC)
The MLS Best XI is selected by media, MLS players, and club technical staffs. For full disclosure, my ballot can be found here:
Best XI:— Ben Wright (@benwright) November 8, 2021
GK: Turner, #NERevs
D: Zimmerman, #EveryoneN
D: Yeimar, #Sounders
D: Fontàs, #SportingKC
M: Kreilach, #RSL
M: João Paulo, #Sounders
M: Gil, #NERevs
M: Mukhtar, #EveryoneN
F: Sallói, #SportingKC
F: Buksa, #NERevs
F: Castellanos, #NYCFC