Golden Boot

Where 2021's Golden Boot presented by Audi race stands

The end of the 2021 MLS regular season is fast approaching, and the Golden Boot presented by Audi race could still go several ways.

There's a new leader, as New York City FC's Valentin Castellanos now has 18 goals following his brace in the Cityzens' 3-1 victory over Inter Miami CF in Week 34, nudging him one ahead of D.C. United's Ola Kamara and Seattle's Raul Ruidiaz.

Here's your full breakdown of where things stand going into Week 35, as well as a look at the frontrunners' recent form and remaining schedule. (Note that the first tiebreaker, if players are tied on their number of goals, is their number of assists.)

MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi leaders
MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi leaders
1. Valentin Castellanos
New York City
2. Ola Kamara
D.C. United
3. Raul Ruidiaz
4. Daniel Salloi
Sporting KC
5. Adam Buksa
New England
6. Hany Mukhtar
T-7. Gustavo Bou
New England
T-7. Damir Kreilach
Real Salt Lake
9. Chicharito
LA Galaxy

NYCFC's standout has zoomed past the pack with 18 goals, courtesy of a late-season charge of five goals in three games, including braces against Miami and D.C. United. Castellanos' red-hot form has coincided with NYCFC's recent turnaround after a lull, and he'll look to boost his tally on Decision Day against the Philadelphia Union (3:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+). At this point, the top honors are Castellanos' to lose.

Remaining schedule: Nov. 7 vs. PHI

Kamara's pace has slowed of late, as he's now gone six matches since he last found the scoresheet against Minnesota United on Sept. 29. The Norwegian forward closes out the season against a Toronto FC side that's conceded 63 goals this season, so he'll need to capitalize on that while also hoping Castellanos goes scoreless to reclaim the top spot.

Remaining schedule: Nov. 7 at TOR

Ruidiaz is back from a hamstring injury and pushed his goals total to 17 with a Panenka penalty kick against the LA Galaxy on Monday night. Perhaps the Seattle Sounders' star striker has a Decision Day scoring outburst in his future?

Remaining schedule: Nov. 7 at VAN

The MVP contender returned from an ankle injury over the weekend, actively putting him back in the Golden Boot hunt. Salloi's enjoying a career year at Sporting KC, and his production will shape their pursuit of the West's No. 1 overall seed.

Remaining schedule: Nov. 7 vs. RSL

In a record-breaking season for the Revs, Buksa is among the league's most in-form strikers with five goals in his last six games down the stretch. It just remains to be seen how much the Revs will play their big stars in their Decision Day finale against Inter Miami with the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed and Supporters' Shield both already locked up.

Remaining schedule: Nov. 7 vs. MIA

Mukhtar is at 15 goals, leaving him with a long shot at catching Castellanos, but the Nashville SC attacker has played himself into the MVP discussion by also dishing out 12 assists and putting his team in contention for the East's No. 2 seed.

Remaining schedule: Nov. 7 vs. RBNY

As another key cog in New England's Supporters' Shield-winning season, Bou's 15 goals leave him in the mix. He would need a hat trick on Decision Day to catch Castellanos, but that's not an unthinkable proposition at home against a leaky Inter Miami defense.

Remaining schedule: Nov. 7 vs. MIA

Real Salt Lake are fighting for their playoff lives in their final two matches, and Kreilach will no doubt get a full run to try and add to his current 15-goal total, as the Croatian wraps up a stellar individual campaign.

Remaining schedule: Nov. 3 vs. POR, Nov. 7 at SKC

If Chicharito were healthy all year, would he be comfortably leading the Golden Boot race? That's entirely feasible, as his 15 goals and three assists through 20 games represent an incredible return. He's enjoyed a tremendous second year with the Galaxy.

Remaining schedule: Nov. 7 vs. MIN