His 34 scores last season were the most in MLS history. And his 49 goals since coming to the league three years ago are the most by a Mexican-born player. So few noticed when his game-winning strike in last Sunday’s season-opening win over Inter Miami extended his home scoring streak to 11 regular-season games, which is — wait for it — a record.
He’ll try to pad that total Sunday when the Philadelphia Union visit Banc of California Stadium, where LAFC has lost just two regular-season games in three seasons, selling out all 35 matches. Another sellout is expected Sunday.
“He continues to set the example every day,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said of Vela. “A leader, obviously. Making plays in training every day. He’s been in all ways setting the bar high.”
Off the field too. The team announced this week that Vela has obtained a green card, meaning he no longer requires an international roster spot.
“That’s been in the works for a while,” said Bradley, whose team has nine international players.
Vela has 15 goals during his 11-game home streak and that doesn’t include two goals in last fall’s MLS playoffs or his two scores against León in last month’s CONCACAF Champions League win. He hasn’t gone consecutive starts without a goal since the fall of 2018 — which probably would be a record as well if such records were kept.
LAFC will have a quick turnaround after the Philadelphia game, returning to Champions League play at home March 12 against Cruz Azul of Mexico’s Liga MX. It will be the second time in as many weeks that LAFC has played two home games in the span of five days.