The 2019 MLS regular season came to an end on Sunday as Carlos Vela crowned himself king of Major League Soccer by breaking the single-season MLS goalscoring record. Elsewhere, Marco Fabian was also on target, while the LA Galaxy blew their chance at home-field advantage in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. Here is what we learned from Week 31 in Major League Soccer.
Carlos Vela is king of MLS
A hat-trick to break the single-season MLS goalscoring record?!! To paraphrase coach Bob Bradley, there isn’t a lot of words to describe what Carlos Vela has accomplished in this 2019 MLS season. Breaking the MLS goalscoring record is one thing, but doing it without being an out and out striker and doing it as captain of the team is definitely special.
After the game, Vela reiterated he is happy with the decisions he has made in his career, and at least symbolically speaking, to see everything he has accomplished at the end of the season in the form of a record or trophy is pretty rewarding.
Vela’s final MVP (because he is going to win it) regular-season tally will stand at 34 goals, 15 assists, and one Golden Boot trophy. He also helped LAFC reach 72 points, a single-season points record in MLS. When it’s all said and done, we could be talking about the best season of any player in MLS history. We are in the Carlos Vela era now.
The Galaxy lose home-field advantage
On paper, it looked so easy. The LA Galaxy would go into Houston, win and earn first round home-field advantage against the second worst team in the Western Conference. But surprise, surprise, things are never easy with the LA Galaxy. After twice taking the lead, the Dynamo came back to earn a 4-2 win and spoil any chance of seeing the Galaxy play at home in the first round.
What a way to make life difficult for themselves. WIth the defeat, the Galaxy will now have to travel close to 2,000 miles to take on Minnesota United, and assuming they win, they would then have to travel back to Los Angeles to take on rivals LAFC with just a few days of rest.
Nobody is saying they can’t do it, but judging by how bad they have been away from home, just getting past Minnesota United is going to be a huge test. Inconsistency has been the Galaxy’s biggest enemy, and it’s going to take a real disciplined performance to get past the Loons. At the end, it would be a real shame to see the Galaxy crash out in the first round, especially considering just how well Jonathan dos Santos and Uriel Antuna have played this season.
Marco Fabian and the Union are ready for the MLS Cup Playoffs
Marco Fabian scored a penalty, but the Philadelphia Union were 2-1 losers to New York City Football Club in their last game of the MLS regular season. The Union were already guaranteed first round home-field advantage, so in the overall scope of things, this defeat wasn’t really too damaging.
The Union might not be a headline grabber like LAFC or Atlanta United, but as history has shown time and time again, anything can happen in the MLS Cup Playoffs. More often than not, it’s the team nobody is talking about that makes an unlikely run, and Marco Fabian and the Union will certainly want to fit that label.
For now, they Union get a date against the New York Red Bulls in the first round, a team they previously beat 3-2 at home during the regular season.