As the race for 2021's Landon Donovan MLS MVP award heats up, considerations behind Nashville SC star Hany Mukhtar are intensifying.

While New England Revolution midfielder Carles Gil is the presumptive frontrunner as they chase the Supporters' Shield, Mukhtar's 12-goal and nine-assist output is impossible to ignore.

That fact leaves Extratime co-host David Gass confident that Nashville's star Designated Player must be in the conversation as the regular season winds down and the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs near.

"In an MVP performance, it's not just goals," Gass asserted. "It's how you affect your team, it's how you dictate the game and it's how your team plays. And Nashville plays through Hany Mukhtar and the way he plays dictates the style of the games that he plays in."

Co-host Andrew Wiebe added that "Hany is maybe more of an active, throughout the game piece" when comparing him to Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi, another contender in the MVP debate.

For Gass, it comes down to who's more central to their team's success, and he leans Mukhtar in that department.

"You don't play through [Salloi], and it's not his actions and his ability with the ball that changes the way your team or the other team, more importantly, plays," Gass said. "And so that's where it's more than just that."

As for co-host Charlie Davies, he said Nashville's accomplishments this year can't be overlooked. They're currently the East's No. 2 seed and trail only New England.

"Nashville is really the only team that scares me in the Eastern Conference," said Davies. "They could literally beat the Revs on the road ... because they are so defensively organized and they can hit you on the counter. They can dominate you on set pieces."

"They're really good," Davies continued. "I think they're well-coached, organized and they do have players like Hany Mukhtar who can step up and do things when they need them to."

For more MLS breakdowns, check out the latest Extratime episode.

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