The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) ended its regular season by defeating the Colorado Rapids 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at Banc of California Stadium. With the victory, LAFC broke the all-time single-season points record, finishing the 2019 regular season with 72 points (21-4-9 record).
“The most points in the history is really important because we showed how good we are,” LAFC forward Carlos Vela said. “It shows how good our chemistry is but we want more. If we don’t win the MLS cup then the record is nothing so we have to keep working. Maybe tonight we will celebrate a little bit but starting tomorrow we have to think about the playoff [game] and be ready.”
With a hat-trick in the season finale, Vela surpassed Josef Martinez for the most goals in one year, finishing the regular season with a record-best 34 goals. The Club also tied the all-time single-season goals record (85) and finished with the best goal differential in league history (+48).
“At the end of this incredible season which we’re all proud of, to see Carlos [Vela] finish off that way is special for everyone,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. “I said to everyone inside that everybody in the club —all the players, staff —everybody is so happy for him because as a guy, he’s so positive. He’s a great teammate, he’s good to the people around him every day and he’s had just a special, special year. That is first. We’re all incredibly proud of what he’s accomplished.”
Vela scored his first of the afternoon moments before the half-hour mark with a left-footed strike from 25 yards out past an outstretched Tim Howard. Three minutes later, the Golden Boot winner would score a stunning bicycle kick to double the team’s lead.
LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller spoke in awe of Vela’s performance after the game.
“It’s hard for us to put it into words because we’ve never seen something like that, especially in the MLS, where a guy can come in and he cuts in with his left foot and curls to the back post every time and it manages to go in,” Miller said. “For me, it’s great to watch from my perspective because I see his move. He sets the defender up and cuts in, and then as soon as he cuts in I’m like, “this could be interesting.” So,to be able to witness that this entire season has been something that’s amazing.”
In the 40th minute, the Rapids got on the scoreboard as Kei Kamara’s header bounced off the post and into the back of the net. After the interval, Vela capped off a historic season with a tap-in goal off a cross by Tristan Blackmon.
Last week, LAFC clinched the 2019 Supporters’ Shield, securing the top spot in Major League Soccer and a first-round bye in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. The Black & Gold will await the winner of Minnesota United and the Galaxy. Date and time for the Western Conference Semifinal match will be announced at a later date.
Lead Picture: Photo credit: Raul Romero Jr./LAFC
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