Hello MLS: Billy Sharp Announces Himself with Goals
With over 250 career goals prior to entering MLS, the LA Galaxy’s Billy Sharp certainly knows how to find the back of the net. Born and raised in Sheffield, England, Sharp became a legend at his boyhood club by scoring 129 times across 377 matches for Sheffield United from 2007-10 and 2015-23. After leaving England to join the LA Galaxy, Sharp is already making a name for himself in MLS.
Sharp earned Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire honors for his hat trick in the Galaxy’s 4-3 comeback victory over Minnesota United FC on Wednesday. In just six appearances, he has totaled six scores as the Galaxy continues to push for a position in the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. With a goal in the first 31 minutes against Austin FC on Sunday (9:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass / FS1), Sharp would become the fastest player in MLS history to reach seven career goals, eclipsing Adama Diomande, who did so in his first 277 minutes in 2018.
The fastest players to seven career goals in MLS history:
Mukhtar’s Magical Three-Year Run Continues
Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar has rounded into form heading down the stretch of the 2023 regular season, scoring in each of his last two matches, including a goal and an assist in Wednesday's 3-0 victory on the road against Sporting Kansas City. With the goal, the 2022 Landon Donovan MLS MVP became the eighth player in leagues history to score at least 15 goals in three consecutive seasons.
Mukhtar’s three-year stretch has been sensational and is reaching historic levels. The German has totaled 86 goal contributions (54 goals, 32 assists) since the start of 2021 and is two goal contributions shy of tying Robbie Keane (2013-15) and Josef Martínez (2017-19) for the second-most combined goals and assists in a three-year stretch in league history. Mukhtar and Nashville will look to keep up their strong road form when they travel to face the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass).
The most goal contributions over a three-year span in MLS history:
Cucho Hernández Making Late MVP Case
On Wednesday night’s MLS 360, host Liam McHugh posed the idea to his colleagues that Columbus Crew forward Cucho Hernández should be the 2023 Landon Donovan MLS MVP – his coach Wilfried Nancy agreed. Nancy pointed to Hernández’s ability to raise the play of those around him and the 2023 season has shown that. The Colombian international produced a hat trick Wednesday night and is now up to 13 goals and 11 assists this season.
Hernández has seven goals in his last three games and has MLS history in his sights entering the weekend. With a brace against FC Dallas this Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass), the Crew’s star forward would join Eddie Johnson (May 26 – July 22, 2007) as the only players in league history to score nine goals across a four-game span. Hernández will look to make his MVP case even stronger with more accolades in his sights.
The most goals across a four-game stretch in MLS history:
Portland’s Evander Hitting Stride During Playoff Push
Ahead of Matchday 34, the Timbers have been making a late push for the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs, led by the play of dynamic Brazilian midfielder Evander. Evander has a goal or assist in five of his last six games, helping the Timbers to a 4-1-1 record over that stretch. The Brazilian’s strong run of form has coincided with Miles Joseph taking over as the interim head coach and the longtime MLS assistant has gotten the best out of the 25-year-old Designated Player.
With the strong stretch, Evander is now up to a team-high nine goals in his debut MLS season. Additionally, he sits just one goal shy of becoming the third player in Timbers history with double-digit goals in their first season with the club, with Brian Fernández being the last to do so. Portland can continue to climb the Western Conference when they host the Colorado Rapids this Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass).
The most goals in a debut season in Portland Timbers history: