LAFC's Carlos Vela smashes MLS goals record, wins Golden Boot
LAFC's Carlos Vela scored a hat trick to smash the Major League Soccer single-season goals record of 31 on Sunday in a 3-1 win over the Colorado Rapids.at Banc of California Stadium.
The sensational Decision Day outing for Vela puts him on 34 goals for the season, meaning he is also the Golden Boot winner in 2019. Vela finished with 34 goals in 30 games, after Martinez had 31 in playing all 34 games last season.
After the match, head coach Bob Bradley said: "At the end of this incredible season which we're all proud of, to see Carlos finish off that way is special for everyone. 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 from a trademark left-footed strike for his 32nd goal of the season to move ahead of Martinez, who only broke the record held by Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips during the 2018 season.
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The goal gave LAFC the lead over the Rapids and took the team a step closer in its quest to break the New York Red Bulls' record for the highest single-season point total in league history.
Vela then added his 33rd goal of the season with a spectacular overhead volley from just in front of the goal to make the score 2-0, before adding his third goal with a close-range finish on a counter-attack to secure his hat trick and extend LAFC's lead.
The win also sees LAFC break the record for points in a single MLS season, with the team's 72-point haul breaking the previous mark of 71 held by the New York Red Bulls.
Vela said: "The most points in the history is really important because we showed how good we are. 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."
LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in his team's 4-2 loss to the Houston Dynamo to finish second in the Golden Boot race on 30 goals, while Martinez scored his 27th goal for Atlanta to finish third.
LAFC begins its 2019 MLS Cup playoff campaign in the conference semifinal round courtesy of a first-round bye for finishing with the highest points haul in the West.