MLS MVP Power Rankings: Driussi, Mukhtar and Acosta among the favorites

Driussi Mukhtar Acosta MLS MVP GFX
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GOAL breaks down the candidates to be named the league's best player

Most of the MLS season has now been played, and we have a pretty good idea of where teams and players stand as we reach the final stretch.

The All-Star break has come and gone, and several stars have distanced themselves from the rest. From playmakers to elite goalscorers, there are a number of candidates who could take home the MLS MVP award in 2022.

With that said, GOAL breaks down the top five candidates for the end-of-season honor as the race to be crowned the best player heats up.

  1. Sebastian Driussi (Austin FC)
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    #1 Sebastian Driussi (Austin FC)

    The Austin FC star has been a revelation and remains the MVP favorite with 26 goal involvements (including secondary assists).

    Driussi leads the Golden Boot race with 19 goals, three clear of second place. He's chipped in seven assists, and with Emiliano Rigoni now in the squad, there's reason to believe those numbers could start getting even better.

    And then there's the team success. Austin are second in the West, behind only the juggernaut that is LAFC, who they crushed over the weekend. Driussi scored the fourth goal in that 4-1 win, putting an exclamation mark on a game that served as a statement for both the club and its star.

    As things stand, Driussi is deservedly the favorite for MVP as the most exciting player on one of the league's most exciting teams.

  2. Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC)
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    #2 Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC)

    Nashville goes as Mukhtar goes and, throughout this season, Mukhtar has gone pretty hard.

    The German midfielder has 16 goals, far more than any player on his team. He has 11 assists, tying him for fifth-most in the league. In fact, he has contributed to 27 of the club's 41 total goals scored this season.

    The point is, if Nashville score, Mukhtar has probably played a part. And even when they don't, Mukhtar probably put them in position to find the net, which the team will need to do more of as they look to push their way into the playoffs.

    Nashville have won their last two games by lopsided margins and, as they now sit fourth in the West, it appears Mukhtar has them on the right track.

  3. Luciano Acosta (FC Cincinnati)
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    #3 Luciano Acosta (FC Cincinnati)

    Having Brandon Vazquez on his team may split votes, but Luciano Acosta may actually be the league's most valuable player to his team.

    Acosta creates plenty, having long been one of the league's more dynamic attackers (aside from that quick spell in Atlas). He leads the league with 15 assists, two more than former MVP Carles Gil, who sits second and is playing his way into the race as well.

    For an attacking midfielder to have as much impact on all aspects of a game, they have to be doing something right, and much of Cincy's success comes down to Acosta's willingness to do it all.

    The club is on pace to make the playoffs for the first time in its history and, if they do, Acosta will get much of the credit for being one of several driving forces being their success.

  4. Daniel Gazdag (Philadelphia Union)
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    #4 Daniel Gazdag (Philadelphia Union)

    It's been the summer of Gazdag in Philadelphia.

    The Hungarian midfielder has scored nine goals in his last nine games, chipping in five assists in his last 10 appearances as well.

    He's tied for second in the league in goals, having scored 16 from the midfield. What's more remarkable is that he's scored those 16 goals in just 48 shots, less than half as many as Mukhtar and roughly two thirds as many as Driussi.

    Gazdag is remarkable and, perhaps more importantly, he's consistent, establishing himself as the best player on the best team in the East.

    The Union have scored 23 goals over their last six games and seem well on their way to the top seed in their conference. And, if they keep on that path, Gazdag will be in the award race right down to the wire.

  5. Emmanuel Reynoso (Minnesota United)
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    #5 Emmanuel Reynoso (Minnesota United)

    Minnesota United have been surging thanks to the play of their Argentinian star.

    Since the start of the Loons' unbeaten run in late June, Reynoso has seven goals and six assists in 10 games as the club has soared up to third in the conference.

    The midfielder has already doubled his goal tally from last season with 10 this year and is just one assist shy of matching last season's total.

    It's been an incredible run for Reynoso, who remains among the league's upper echelon of attacking midfield stars.