When Major League Soccer rolled out its weekly awards for Matchday 37, it was hardly a surprise to see Finnish EDM muse Teemu Pukki receiving credit where credit was due. While making the MLS Team of the Matchday is certainly an honor worth celebrating, Pukki and many of his talented teammates have seen their names called throughout this season. However, only one other MNUFC teammate has been named the MLS Player of the Matchday during the 2023 season, that being Emanuel Reynoso in Matchday 29. It also makes him part of an exclusive group of Loons players to have received that honor since the club joined the MLS ranks seven years ago, including Reynoso (2023, 2022), Dayne St. Clair (2022), Ike Opara (2020), Kevin Molino (2020), Mason Toye (2019), and Darwin Quintero (2018).
From a club standpoint, most Loons fans are likely aware by now that Pukki did indeed rewrite the club’s record book and now sits atop the list for most goals scored in a match. Obviously, it’s a massive achievement to etch your name on a list of “all-time” anything, but Pukki’s scoring barrage was especially impressive when you think back to the summer months and the concerns raised by some about his “lack” of scoring. Somebody may have even written an article on the subject. Now, those concerns have evolved into irony, as we look at the club leaders categories for this season and see this season’s leading scorer is…you guessed it, the one-man party himself, topping the charts with 10 total.
And, Pukki’s big night wasn’t just one for the season leaders stats and club record books, but it was historic for the Pukki on a personal and professional level. Throughout his 17-year career in whichhe’s earned a reputation for being a major threat to the net, Pukki has registered a total of seven matches with a hat trick. But, last Saturday’s scoring performance was the most prolific scoring outing he’s ever had in his decorated career of making goalie cry. Hell, the fact he’s got seven hat tricks to his name is an impressive career accomplishment on its own, but to see him break that professional barrier in a Minnesota United kit is something special.
For all those impressive accolades he’s earned from Saturday’s historic performance, the most important thing to take away from Teemu Pukki’s 4-goal party was that it gave the Loons the insurmountable lead needed to keep LA from even getting a whiff of any thoughts of a comeback. Most importantly of all is the momentum his performance helped build towards the Loons’ final game of the season.The playoff dream is still alive, and it’s one more opportunity to see what goal-scoring greatness Pukki can conjure up on Decision Day. Hopefully, a quality Finnish can help solidify a postseason berth for MNUFC.