Fire striker Nemanja Nikolic collected a hat-trick against the Philadelphia Union. (Photo courtesy of MLS)
Chicago Fire forward Nemanja Nikolic has been voted the Major League Soccer player of the week by the North American Soccer Reporters.
Nikolic scored his first MLS hat-trick to complete Chicago’s come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Union at Toyota Park Sunday.
The Hungarian international leads the Golden Boot race with 24 goals, tied for the sixth-highest total in league history. With eight goals scored over the previous six games, Nikolic has the Fire sitting third in the Eastern Conference standings (16-10-7, 55 points).
Nikolic opened the scoring just three minutes in to the game after chasing down a beautiful long ball by teammate Brandon Vincent. After dribbling into the box, Nikolic slotted a shot past goalkeeper Andre Blake for a 1-0 Fire advantage.
Philadelphia climbed back with twp strikes in the first half for a 2-1 lead, but the Chicago forward was given a chance from the penalty spot in the 64th minute to equalize the score at 2-2 (Watch Goal). The Fire finished the match when Vincent squared a ball into the middle of the box in the 78th minute and Nikolic smashed it home to complete his hat-trick. Nikolic’s five game-winning goals this season rank tied for third in the league.
Nikolic also earned player of the week honors in weeks 7 and 18 and was named player of the month for May.
The Fire travel to face the Houston Dynamo in the regular season finale at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Chicago Plus/ESPN Deportes/Univision Chicago 1200AM).
The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from NASR. The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.