Major League Soccer

MLS Week 7 best players - ranked

Chris Smith
Castellanos kick-started his 2022 MLS season with four goals v RSL.
Castellanos kick-started his 2022 MLS season with four goals v RSL. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Another week goes by in MLS full of drama, shocks, and goals.

NYCFC finally showed us why they're MLS Cup champions with a 6-0 demolition of Real Salt Lake (more on that later), LAFC returned to the top of the West with a 3-1 win over struggling Sporting Kansas City, and Austin FC continue to impress in their sophomore year.

That's just the tip of the iceberg from Week 7, which also featured more incredible individual performances:

5. Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC)

He's put in a couple of strong performances here and there, but we've all kind of just been sitting and waiting for Hany Mukhtar to explode this season. Well, on Saturday, he did just that.

The former Brondby playmaker scored a brace to twice put his side ahead away at the San Jose Earthquakes; the first a dancing run through the opposition defense, the second a poacher's effort at the far post.

Nashville couldn't hold onto either lead and left California with only a point, but Mukhtar certainly reminded everybody of his true capabilities, attempting seven shots and completing five dribbles on the day.

This is definitely a performance that Mukhtar can build on.

4. Jeremy Ebobisse (San Jose Earthquakes)

Mukhtar wasn't the only player scoring a brace in that match, though. Salvaging a point for the Quakes was striker Jeremy Ebobisse, equalizing twice in an entertaining encounter.

Like Mukhtar, Ebobisse's first was an impressive goal hitting the back of the net from a free-kick, and his second was a real striker's effort - taking advantage of a scramble in the box.

It looks like these are the final two goals of the Matias Almeyda era in San Jose, and with Ebobisse now level at the top of the Golden Boot standings with five, he'll be key to carrying the club forward under a new head coach.

3. Djordje Mihailovic (CF Montreal)

Every single week that goes by, Djordje Mihailovic's bid for a USMNT recall gets stronger and stronger.

This time, he chipped in with a goal and an assist to help CF Montreal to a much-needed 2-1 victory at home to fellow Canadian side Vancouver Whitecaps.

Mihailovic's goal showed all of his best qualities, driving the ball forward to unsettle the Whitecaps defense, then finding space in the box to score when Montreal recycled the ball. The midfielder then orchestrated a break forward and played in Romell Quioto to make it 2-0 and seal the win - one of five chances he created on the day.

He can create, score, dribble, and pass. What is Gregg Berhalter waiting for?

2. Alec Kann (FC Cincinnati)

Given their injury problems, it won't come as a surprise to learn that Atlanta United didn't put in a vintage performance against FC Cincinnati on Saturday. But especially in the second half, the Five Stripes piled on the pressure and probably did enough to win the game.

But the home side didn't bank on coming up against a former employee in truly inspired form between the sticks for Cincy.

Time and again, Alec Kann was the man to deny Atlanta United and keep Cincinnati's head above water at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The 31-year-old goalkeeper made six saves on the night to hold onto his clean sheet, the most impressive of which was to deny Marcelino Moreno down to his left from the penalty spot.

Kann has had a rough start to life with Cincinnati but this was much more like the sort of performance expected of him.

1. Taty Castellanos (NYCFC)

Taty Castellanos was a ruthless goalscoring machine in 2021, winning the Golden Boot. But at the start of 2022, in MLS play at least, it's been a slog.

That was until Real Salt Lake came to town and Castellanos burst into life with not one, not two, not three, but four goals as NYCFC marched to a 6-0 win.

Two came from penalties (one of which he won), one was a header from a set-piece, and Castellanos' fourth was a deflected effort to punish some shoddy RSL defending.

Perhaps even more impressive than the four goals, though, was the overall performance from Castellanos, who created three chances, won three aerial duels, and created one chance in a much more dynamic and exciting performance.

Is this the spark that ignites the 2022 season for last year's champions and Golden Boot winner?

Honorable mentions: Thiago Andrade (NYCFC), Robin Lod (Minnesota United), Sean Nealis (RBNY), Rodrigo Schlegel (Orlando City), Diego Fagundez (Austin FC), Cristian Arango (LAFC), Ilie Sanchez (LAFC), Aljaz Ivacic (Portland Timbers)