This is a Carlos Vela appreciation post.

Back in 2017, LAFA made the decision to sign Mexican striker Carlos Vela as their first ever designated player. It was a major call that has shaped MLS ever since.

When Vela left Spanish La Liga club, Real Sociedad to move to the league’s then-newest expansion team, his career had been a case of what might have been. He had finally established his reputation at La Real but the fractious relationship with the Mexico national team and his experiences at Arsenal meant he had never quite lived up to early expectations.

Two years later, at the end of a record breaking 2019 season he was celebrating his status as the league’s MVP.

Vela’s statistics from 2019 speak for themselves. As early as mid-August, he broke Sebastian Giovinco’s all-time MLS record for the combined number of goals and assists in a single season, also securing LAFC’s play-off place in the same game against Real Salt Lake.

By September, and the penultimate week of the regular season Vela went on to equal the Golden Boot scoring record for a single season, only set by Atlanta United’s Josef MartΓ­nez in 2018 – an astonishing 31 goals in 30 games.

That meant just a single goal in LAFC’s final game against Colorado Rapids would be enough to make history. Instead, he scored a hat-trick to set a new standard for the future!

Unfortunately, for Vela and his team – their hopes of adding the MLS Cup to the Supporters Shield they had earned in the regular season where ended by Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference Finals, but not before Vela had added another two goals and an assist to his final tally for the year.

34 regular season goals and 15 assists meant that Vela was involved in 49 of LAFC’s total of 85 goals across the campaign. To put that in to context, 7 MLS sides scored fewer than 49 goals in total!

His end of season average FotMob player rating of 8.46 out of 10, per game was also one of the highest we’ve seen from a player in any league for which we carry full statistics.

And Vela’s form didn’t look like letting up any time soon, with him starting the 2020 MLS season with two goals in the two opening games. One of them, a trademark lob against David Beckham’s Inter Miami. πŸ”₯

With the future uncertain and MLS on hold, we can only wonder what further feats Carlos Vela will come up once football does finally restart.

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