Nashville SC's Hany Mukhtar, Walker Zimmerman named to 2021 MLS Best XI. See the full list

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  • Walker Zimmerman
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Two of Nashville SC's best players have been voted two of the 11 best in Major League Soccer this season.

MVP finalist Hany Mukhtar and reigning, two-time MLS Defender of the Year Walker Zimmerman have been named to the league's 2021 Best XI, which was announced Thursday, compiling the best players at each position, according to a three-part voting process featuring MLS players, club technical staffs and the media.

In his second season in MLS, Mukhtar earned his highest MLS achievement yet, setting the league ablaze by positing a league-high 28 combined goals and assists during the regular season, subsequently scoring three more goals in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Since July, Mukhtar has owned the MLS record for the fastest hat trick scored from the start of a match (16 minutes) and the second-fastest elapsed time in which a hat trick has been scored (six minutes). The record is five minutes.

Zimmerman has now made three consecutive Best XI teams. His total leads all players on this year's team. The center back's trophy case is taking shape with two MLS All-Star selections (2019, 2021) and two Defender of the Year awards (2020, 2021).

Zimmerman's three goals and two assists partly summarize his dominance in 2021. The 6-foot-2 defender was once again a force in the air, winning 76% of his aerial duels this season, placing him in the 93rd percentile of all center backs, according to Football Reference.

Zimmerman's 1.2 shots per 90 minutes and 2.6 ball touches in the opposition's 18-yard box listed Zimmerman in the 98th and 99th percentile, respectively.

2021 MLS Best XI

Goalkeeper: Matt Turner (New England Revolution, first selection)

Defenders: Yeimar Gómez Andrade (Seattle Sounders FC, first selection); Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC, third selection); Miles Robinson (Atlanta United FC, second selection)

Midfielders: Tajon Buchanan (New England Revolution, first selection); João Paulo (Seattle Sounders FC, first selection); Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC, first selection); Carles Gil (New England Revolution, second selection)

Forwards: Raúl Ruidíaz (Seattle Sounders FC, second selection); Gustavo Bou (New England Revolution, first selection); Valentín “Taty” Castellanos (New York City FC, first selection)

For stories about Nashville SC or Soccer in Tennessee, contact Drake Hills at DHills@gannett.com. Follow Drake on Twitter at @LiveLifeDrake. Connect with Drake on Instagram at @drakehillssoccer and on Facebook.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Nashville SC Hany Mukhtar, Walker Zimmerman named to 2021 MLS Best XI

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