Chasing Josef: Carlos Vela on pace to challenge all-time single-season mark

It's been a blistering start to the season for two of LA's biggest stars, as Carlos Vela (LAFC) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy) remain in irresistible form in 2019. 

So irresistible, in fact, that both have a legitimate chance to take aim at MLS's single-season goals record of 31, set by Atlanta United's Josef Martinez in 2018. That number was four more than any player before Martinez, and it felt like it might be some time before we would see it fall.

With 14 matches in the books for the LA Galaxy and 15 for LAFC, Vela and Ibrahimovic are not showing signs of slowing down in 2019 as they keep up goals-per-game averages that should see them in the running to challenge Martinez's record by season's end. In fact, Vela is currently outdoing Martinez's goal total after 15 matches in 2018, and Ibrahimovic's scoring rate isn't far behind.

In their most recent match, Vela got another goal against Montreal (watch the goal above), while Zlatan sat out the Galaxy's win against Orlando due to a Disciplinary Committee suspension.

Here's how Ibrahimovic and Vela are pacing compared to Josef after Atlanta's first 15 matches in 2018 (Note: Ibrahimovic has missed four of the Galaxy's 14 matches in 2019): 

Player Goals Minutes Goals per 90
2019 Vela (15 matches) 15 1339 1.01
2019 Ibrahimovic (10 matches) 9 900 0.90
2018 Martinez (15 matches) 13 1269 0.92

Can Vela and Ibrahimovic sustain these rates? The race for the 2019 Golden Boot presented by Audi is already shaping up to be one for the ages. 

LIVE YOUR COLORS: Download the free MLS app - The official MLS app gets a major update for 2019, making it easier than ever to keep up with your favorite club, check standings, watch videos and much more.