(Reuters) – Los Angeles Football Club forward Carlos Vela was named Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Most Valuable Player for the 2019 season on Monday, making him the first Mexican to win the award.
Vela enjoyed a record-breaking regular season during which he set a new league-high of 34 goals in 31 games to help LAFC capture the Supporters’ Shield and top seed in the MLS Cup playoffs, where his team fell in the conference finals.
The Mexican international’s 1.10 goals-per-game average ranks first in MLS history among players with at least 15 goals in a single campaign. He also reached the 20-goal mark in 20 games, which is faster than any other player.
Vela also showed himself to be an unselfish focal point of LAFC’s attack with an impressive tally of 15 assists. His combined goal and assists total (49) also set an MLS record.
For his accomplishments this season, Vela was named the Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player in a landslide as he earned 69.6% of the votes in polling of players, club technical staff and the media.
Finishing in second place was Los Angeles Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (14.11%) while Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez, who won the award last year, finished third with 6.97% of the vote.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Radnedge)