Hours after parting ways with longtime head coach Adrian Heath and facing possible elimination from the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs, the Loons got a massive performance from their summer Designated Player signing. Pukki exploded for four goals as MNUFC clobbered the LA Galaxy, 5-2, to stay alive in the chase for a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
Finland's all-time leading scorer became just the second Minnesota player to net a hat trick, after Darwin Quintero in 2018, while also establishing himself as the 17th player in MLS history with four or more goals in a regular-season game. Seattle's Jordan Morris achieved the same feat earlier this season in Matchday 5.
Pukki, whose 88 goals in 210 matches for previous club Norwich City made him a Canaries legend, is well on his way to producing even more scoring numbers for Minnesota. The 33-year-old already has 10 tallies in 13 games with the Loons, boasting a league-best 0.95 goals-per-90-minutes average (950 minutes) among players with at least five goals.
The MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire is selected each matchday 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.