I’m pretty sure it’s an unofficial rule in MLS that scoring a hat-trick gets you an automatic spot in the league’s Team Of The Week honors.
In any event, I was so confident that Golden Boot leader Nemanja Nikolic would get a TOTW nod for his hat-trick in the Chicago Fire’s 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Union yesterday that I wrote this post last night.
Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.
Niko’s goal tally put him at 24 on the season, three goals clear in the Golden Boot race with just one matchweek remaining in the regular season. (It was four goals clear at the full-time whistle, but Diego Valeri scored later in the evening in Portland’s 4-0 romp over DC United.) It’s possible Valeri or NYCFC’s David Villa could go on a scoring spree next weekend, but barring that, Niko is in a very good position to claim that honor after next Sunday.
Of course, Niko would probably be the first to tell you that it’s the team that matters.
cf97 young’un Djordie Mihailovic made the Team Of The Week bench after a string of impressive performances for the recent academy grad. In addition, former Fire captain Jeff Larentowicz broke into the Best XI for the week; he’s been absolutely killing it in defensive midfield for Atlanta, and he’s getting some of the recognition he deserves.
The full TOTW is below:
Bench: Brad Guzan (ATL), Jake Nerwinski (VAN), Aaron Long (NY), Wil Trapp (CLB), Djordje Mihailovic (CHI), Jonathan dos Santos (LA), Yordy Reyna (VAN)
Coach: Caleb Porter (POR)