NEW YORK (Thursday, September 15, 2022) – Austin FC forward Moussa Djitté was voted the Major League Soccer Player of the Week presented by Continental Tire for the 31st week of the 2022 MLS season.
Djitté came on as a substitute in the 58th minute and scored the first hat trick in Austin FC history in the club’s 3-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, September 14, powering the club to a berth in the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs (Watch Highlights from His Performance Here). Djitté became the sixth player in MLS history to record a hat trick after entering the match as a substitute, and just the second player to do so when coming on in the 55th minute or later (LA Galaxy’s Harut Karapetyan on June 4, 1998, 78th minute). The last player to score three goals off the bench was Chris Wondolowski for the San Jose Earthquakes nearly 12 years ago on October 20, 2010. Austin joins FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami CF as the three clubs to record their first-ever hat trick in 2022.
With the game scoreless in the 60th minute, Austin’s Diego Fagúndez played an intricate, outside-of-the-boot cross into the center of the box to Djitté, who volleyed the ball from close range into the net to give Austin a 1-0 lead (Watch Here). In the 76th minute, Djitté added his second goal after Ethan Finlay’s shot off the crossbar was cleared into his path and he unleashed a thunderous angled volley into the side-netting, sending Q2 Stadium into a frenzy (Watch Here). The Senegalese forward completed his hat trick in the 80th minute when Fagúndez played a pass to Ruben Gabrielsen, who then delicately flicked the ball into the path of Djitté for an easy-placed shot past the Salt Lake goalkeeper to seal the 3-0 victory (Watch Here).
Djitté has scored four goals in 282 minutes of game action this season, placing him at 1.28 goals per 90 minutes, the best mark of anyone to play at least 250 minutes this season. He is the only player with at least three goals and a goals per 90 minutes rate of 1.00 in 2022. All four of Djitté’s goals have been as a substitute this season, which is tied for the third most in MLS behind the Galaxy’s Dejan Joveljić (seven) and D.C. United’s Ola Kamara (six). Additionally, Austin’s win moves them to 54 points on the season, a 23-point jump after their inaugural season in 2021, passing Nashville SC (22 points) for the second-largest points growth from an expansion team’s first to second season in MLS history.
Djitté is the second Austin FC player to win MLS Player of the Week presented by Continental Tire, joining Tomás Pochettino in Week 17 of 2021. Djitté and Dejan Joveljić (Week 14) are the only players to come on as a substitute and win MLS Player of the Week this season.
Austin will look to clinch homefield advantage in the postseason when they host Nashville SC at Q2 Stadium on Saturday, September 17 (9 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE on ESPN+).
The MLS Player of the Week presented by Continental Tire is selected each week of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio, and online media.