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MLS Week 24, Mexicans Abroad: What we learned

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Real Salt Lake Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Efrain Alvarez returned from suspension for the LA Galaxy. Meanwhile, across town, Carlos Vela and LAFC became the first team in Major League Soccer to seal their place in the 2019 Playoffs. Here’s what we learned from Week 24 in Major League Soccer.

Efrain Alvarez still getting his chance with the Galaxy

Efrain Alvarez got the surprise start in the first of two LA Galaxy games played this week as the five-time MLS Cup champs took on FC Dallas. The 17-year-old Mexican youth international was making his return from a two-game suspension and played a total of 61 minutes in his team’s 2-0 win over Dallas.

Clearly, coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto sees something special in Efrain Alvarez, and while this was another tame outing from the youngster, you get the feeling that it is just a matter of him getting his decision-making right. Technically he is well above a lot of the players around him, and in theory, he has all the tools to be an influential player in the midfield for years to come. Mexican fans are just going to need to be patient with him.

That said, after riding the bench in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against the Seattle Sounders, Efrain Alvarez’s next start could be right around the corner, in Tuesday’s Leagues Cup game against Cruz Azul.

Carlos Vela and LAFC are officially in the MLS Cup Playoffs

Another LAFC game, another record broken by Carlos Vela. The MPV front-runner scored in LAFC’s 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake and in the process set a new single-season record for most combined goals and assists with 39. Vela’s goal was also enough to help the Black and Gold officially seal their place in the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs where they will undoubtedly go in as the favorites the lift the trophy.

Marco Fabian claims he is only going to get better

Speaking of Carlos Vela and LAFC, while attending to members of the media, Marco Fabian confessed earlier this week he would love to play an MLS Cup Final against Vela. The Philadelphia Union is having arguably one of its best seasons in years, and though they did suffer a 2-0 defeat to the Chicago Fire on Sunday, they remain tied in points with Atlanta United atop of the Eastern Conference standings.

Among other things Fabian talked about was his desire to continue improving. He admitted an early-season injury slowed him down, but as evidence by his four goals in seven matches, he is slowly getting back to his top form.

By the way, for those wondering, LAFC and Union are set to clash in Philadelphia in less than a month.