SANDY, Utah -- Carlos Vela passed one milestone in what could be the greatest season in MLS history.
The previous record was 38 by Sebastian Giovinco in 2015 with 22 goals and 16 assists. Vela now has 24 goals and 15 assists on the season with nine games remaining.
This season has been nothing short of amazing, special or incredible if you listen to his coach, opponents and teammates. But it may not have been this good, if LAFC head coach Bob Bradley wasn’t pushing for more.
“So far it’s been amazing,” Bradley said after the game. “He’s scored goals. He’s set up goals. He’s also been a fantastic leader and continues to raise the bar for all his teammates. There’s more to go, but he’s done such a fantastic job for us.”
The difference between this year and last year, his debut campaign in MLS, between a good season and an unforgettable one may be the discussions and expectations Bradley has for him. His teammates have seen it and taken it to heart as well. An open challenge to get better coming from his head coach each and every practice has not only pushed Vela, but everyone on LAFC.
“Bob has done a good job of challenging him to raise his game,” LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller said. “He came to us and he had a very historic career and he’s won a lot of trophies and been at a lot of historic clubs, but Bob has done a good job challenging him and really pushing him to find a second gear for us. Last year was a good year for him, but this year he’s showing everybody why he’s the best player in the league.”
His excellence in 2019 has made just about everyone have a rough go of it when they face LAFC.
“He’s incredible,” RSL captain Kyle Beckerman said. “He really makes everybody around him better. He’s like a default, when in doubt, pass it to him and he makes something happen. He’s been a handful for every team in the league. He’s no fun to play against, but he’s fun to watch against other teams.”
Vela and LAFC still have nine regular season games remaining to chase records for most goals or assists in the season, as well as most points, goal differential and whatever else LAFC can muster down the stretch. And the player is focused on rewriting the history books.
“It’s a good thing,” Vela said about holding the record. “Always.”