Coming off the first hat trick of his MLS career, Inter Miami CF forward Gonzalo Higuaín has been awarded MLS Player of the Week presented by Continental Tire for Week 23 of the 2022 MLS season.
All three of the Argentine's strikes came in the first half of Inter Miami's wild 4-4 draw at DRV PNK Stadium vs. FC Cincinnati on Saturday night, joining Leonardo Campana as the only other player in club history to record a hat trick. Higuaín is also the third MLS player to record a first-half hat trick this season, joining the New York Red Bulls' Lewis Morgan and Atlanta United's Ronaldo Cisneros.
Higuaín opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with a highlight-reel free kick that he scorched into the top corner, giving no chance to Cincinnati goalkeeper Roman Celentano. Following an equalizer from Brenner, Higuaín restored the advantage in the 37th minute, rounding the goalkeeper and finishing into an open net off a pinpoint feed from Alejandro Pozuelo.
He finished off the hat trick in first-half stoppage time, converting a penalty kick won by midfielder Jean Mota to give his side a 3-2 halftime lead.
The trio of goals brings Higuaín's tally to the season up to seven in 16 appearances (8 starts), to go along with one assist in 805 minutes. It also brings him up to 20 goals for his MLS career, making him the first player in Inter Miami history to achieve that milestone.
Higuaín is the second Inter Miami player to garner Player of the Week honors this season, joining Campana in Week 6. He had one prior POTW nod, earned in Week 5 of the 2021 season.
The accolade comes as Higuaín looks to help Inter Miami mount an Audi MLS Cup Playoff push down the stretch run of the 2022 season, with the Herons currently occupying the No. 11 spot in the Eastern Conference with 26 points from 22 matches (7W-10L-5D). They'll look to cover more ground in Week 24 with a midweek road matchup against the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday at Pay Pal Park (10:30 pm 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.