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Who will win the MLS Golden Boot? Hany Mukhtar, Georgios Giakoumakis, Denis Bouanga

With just a month of the regular season remaining there’s a three-way tie at the top of the MLS scoring charts, and Lionel Messi is not involved.

Hany Mukhtar out to retain MLS Golden Boot
George Walker IVUSA TODAY Sports

The race for the MLS Golden Boot is really heating up with just a month of the regular season still to play.

As it stands after Matchday 32, there are three players tied at the top of the goal scoring charts with 14 goals: Hany Mukhtar, Georgios Giakoumakis and Denis Bouanga.

Just one goal behind the front-runners, Alan Pulido and Julian Carranza have each scored 13 goals. There are a further four players with 12 goals.

We take a look at the favourites for the 2023 MLS Golden Boot...

Hany Mukhtar, Nashville SC - 14 goals

Last year’s MLS Golden Boot winner and MVP Hany Mukhtar must surely be the favourite to retain the goal-scoring crown in 2023. The attacking midfielder arrived from Brøndby in 2020 and has become a star with Nashville, scoring 65 goals in 120 games in all competitions.

If Mukhtar can clinch the Golden Boot again this year he will become just the sixth player in MLS history to win the league’s scoring award twice, and the first player to win it in consecutive seasons.

Nashville SC fixtures

  • Sporting Kansas City (Away)
  • San Jose Earthquakes (Away)
  • Seattle Sounders (Home)
  • Orlando City (Home)
  • Philadelphia Union (Away)
  • New England Revolution (Home) 
  • NY Red Bulls (Home)

Giorgos Giakoumakis, Atlanta United - 14 goals

Giakoumakis was the big-money signing brought in to replace the departing Josef Martinez and he has proved a solid replacement for the 2018 MVP. The Greek forward scored 29 goals for VVV-Venlo in the Dutch top flight in 2020/21 and followed that up with a productive spell in Scotland with Celtic.

He has continued that fine form in MLS and boasts the best goals-per-90 minutes record in the league (0.91). Giakoumakis also scored in his side’s recent 5-2 win over Inter Miami.

Atlanta United fixtures

  • DC United (Away)
  • Montreal (Home)
  • Philadelphia Union (Away)
  • Colombus Crew (Home)
  • FC Cincinnati (Away)

Denis Bouanga, LAFC - 14 goals

Another forward playing his first full season in MLS, Bouanga has impressed since making the move to LAFC last summer. He initially struggled for goals but his direct running caused defences problems and his finishing looks much improved in 2023.

The 28-year-old began this season with ten goals in his first 12 games, before going through a dry spell in front of goal. However he looked back to his devastating best against LA Galaxy last weekend, scoring a brace in his side’s 4-2 win.

LAFC fixtures

  • St. Louis (Away)
  • Philadelphia Union (Away)
  • Real Salt Lake City (Home)
  • Minnestoa United (Home)
  • Austin FC (Away)
  • Vancouver Whitecaps (Away)

Can Lionel Messi still win the MLS Golden Boot?

It’s difficult to rule anything out when Messi is involved, but the 2023 Golden Boot must surely be beyond even his reach. He has scored 11 goals in 11 appearances since moving to Miami, but the vast majority have come in cup competitions.

Messi has only made three league appearances for his new team and scored just one goal in MLS. Inter Miami have seven games remaining but Messi is extremely unlikely to catch up with those leading the scoring charts as it stands.

Here’s the top ten goal-scorers in this season’s MLS...

MLS top scorers

  • Hany Mukhtar - 14 goals 
  • Giorgos Giakoumakis - 14 goals
  • Hany Mukhtar - 14 goals
  • Luciano Acosta - 13 goals
  • Alan Pulido - 13 goals
  • Julian Carranza - 12 goals
  • Christian Espinoza - 12 goals
  • Daniel Gazdag - 12 goals
  • Facundo Torres - 12 goals
  • Brian White - 11 goals

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