ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 2, 2021) – Orlando City SC forward Nani has been voted the Major League Soccer Player of the Week for Week 16 of the 2021 MLS season.
Nani scored the game-winning goal and added an assist in Orlando City’s 3-2 win over Atlanta United at Exploria Stadium on Friday evening. The Portuguese international’s game-winner served as his third of the season for the Lions, the first two coming within four days of one another in City’s 5-0 victory over San Jose on June 22 before sealing a come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Inter Miami CF on June 25.
With the Lions down a goal just before halftime, Nani delivered a corner kick into the box that was met with a header from Kyle Smith to bring the score level at 1-1 in the 43rd minute. The Portuguese forward then rescued all three points for Orlando City with a late game-winning goal in the 87th minute. Silvester van der Water whipped in a cross from the right side and Nani drifted between two defenders before latching onto the ball with a diving header.
With the goal, Nani moved up to a tie for fifth in the standings for the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi with his eighth goal of the season. His assist to Smith’s goal moved him ahead of teammate Chris Mueller and former City captain Káka (22) to set a new Club record with 23 assists in all competitions.
Nani and the Lions return to action against Inter Miami on Wednesday, Aug. 4 in a local broadcast on FOX35 PLUS, with coverage set to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET ahead of an 8 p.m. ET kickoff. The match can also be streamed locally on LionNation TV, while being transmitted on 96.9 The Game in English and Acción 97.9FM, 810AM in Spanish.
The MLS Player of the Week 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.