Carlos Vela runs away with MLS Latino of the Week honors; Marco Fabian also impresses
A return to a full league calendar following the international break yielded amazing performances from some of MLS' best and brightest Latin American stars. As always, we have singled out a few players who stood out over the weekend for their positive contributions, as well as one who made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Here are the Latinos who caught our eye most in Week 5 of MLS:
Latino of the week
Carlos Vela, FW, LAFC
In LAFC's annihilation of San Jose on Saturday, the Mexican international was at the forefront of every dangerous attack in a resounding 5-0 victory. Vela recorded his first MLS hat trick, becoming the fifth Mexican-born player to achieve the feat, and added an assist in his team's road win.
After Earthquakes goalkeeper Daniel Vega whiffed on a routine clearance, Vela made it 1-0 via a tap-in in the eighth minute. After Steven Beitashour made it 2-0, Vela took a low cross from Diego Rossi for another easy score just before halftime. As if to up the ante after a pair of simple goals, the two-time World Cup participant completed his hat trick with a spectacular curler from outside the box, expertly placed in with his left foot. Apparently not satisfied, Vela found Rossi in the 68th minute to put the final nail in San Jose's coffin.
Vela currently leads MLS with six goals on the season. It was his first hat trick in league play since Nov. 28, 2014, when he scored three against Elche as a member of Spain's Real Sociedad. Since joining MLS, Vela has scored 20 goals and dished out 16 assists for LAFC.
Jesus Ferreira, FW, FC Dallas
The 18-year-old turned in the most electrifying performance of his young career by scoring a goal and assisting on two others in Dallas' 4-2 win over Real Salt Lake. The son of former MLS MVP David Ferreira showed shades of his father's best attributes in his second consecutive start for the Texas-based team.
Carlos Gruezo got things started for Dallas in the first minute with a thundering shot to make it 1-0, opening Real Salt Lake's defense and allowing Ferreira to do plenty of damage. After going down to 10 men following Damir Kreilach's sending off in the 17th minute, RSL managed to bring it level, thanks to Jefferson Savarino's goal on the half-hour mark.
Great movement from Jesus Ferreira to score this goal. pic.twitter.com/zOeKxKcTfe— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) March 31, 2019
The sides weren't even for long, as Ferreira assisted on a pair of goals by Paxton Pomykal before the young Colombian ran onto a strong cross from the right side from Michael Barrios to tap in the game's final goal himself and secure victory for FC Dallas.
Marco Fabian, MF, Philadelphia Union
Following his return from suspension, the Mexican international wasted no time in making his presence felt in Philly's 2-0 win over FC Cincinnati.
The former Chivas man was quite active in front of goal, taking seven shots (a game high) and consistently putting Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey under pressure. After starting a quick break, Fabian rushed into the box, took a cross from David Accam and slid a left-footed shot past Richey for the game's first goal right on 47 minutes.
After the goal, Fabian channeled his inner basketball player by dunking on Alejandro Bedoya in the aftermath. Fabian explained that the celebration was meant to honor Philadelphia 76ers stars Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid, who are noted soccer fans. The goal was Fabian's first from open play in MLS, and it marked his return from a two-game ban levied upon him by the league after he stepped on an opponent in a game against Sporting Kansas City.
Judson, MF, San Jose Earthquakes
The Brazilian midfielder was part of a defensive unit that was destroyed by Carlos Vela and LAFC on Saturday. Unable to stop the visitor's blistering attack, Judson committed four fouls in just 45 minutes of action before being pulled by San Jose coach Matias Almeyda.
Brought in for his defensive prowess ahead of the 2019 season, Judson has largely failed to replicate the form he enjoyed with Avai last year in the Brazilian top flight. In 2018, Judson averaged 5.24 interceptions per game, good for third in all of Serie A. With San Jose, he's part of a unit that has allowed a league-worst 14 goals in just five games.