MLS announced today that LAFC forward Carlos Vela was voted the Major League Soccer Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire for Matchday 8 of the 2023 MLS season.
Vela scored two goals and added an assist during the club’s 3-2 victory in El Tráfico at the LA Galaxy on Sunday, April 16. Vela’s two goals were his ninth and tenth in the regular season against the Galaxy, surpassing Zlatan Ibrahimović (eight) for the most in El Tráfico history. His 10 goals against the Galaxy are tied for the fifth-most in MLS history against LA, despite doing so in only 10 appearances. Additionally, LAFC’s win was their first regular season victory at Dignity Health Sports Park in the rivalry’s history, after previously entering the match with an 0-5-2 record.
LAFC opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when a deflected pass fell to Vela, who opened his body and curled a terrific shot into the top corner of the net (Watch Here). After the Galaxy’s Tyler Boyd tied the game before halftime, LAFC regained the lead after earning a penalty kick, which Vela slotted home in the 68th minute by sending the goalkeeper the wrong direction (Watch Here). Just two minutes later, the Black and Gold solidified all three points when Vela’s looping corner kick perfectly found Ryan Hollingshead, who redirected his header from just outside the six-yard box and into the back of the net for a 3-1 lead (Watch Here).
Vela now has seven goal contributions (three goals, four assists) in 2023, which is tied for the sixth-most in MLS. The Mexican forward is also just one of five players with at least three goals and three assists this season. Since the start of 2018, Vela has produced an MLS-best 10 games with at least three goal contributions and the next closest players to him have only had five such games. LAFC is the last unbeaten MLS team in 2023 and the third team in league history to be the last remaining undefeated team in their title defense season, joining the 2013 LA Galaxy and 1997 D.C. United.
Vela becomes the second consecutive LAFC player to win MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire after Dénis Bouanga did so on Matchday 7. This marks Vela’s ninth MLS Player of the Matchday honor of his career, which is the most in MLS since the start of 2018. His nine honors are tied for the sixth-most in MLS history, behind only Landon Donovan (19), Jeff Cunningham (14), Bradley Wright-Phillips (12), Chris Wondolowski (11), and Dwayne De Rosario (10).
LAFC aim to extend their seven-game unbeaten start to the season as they travel to face Nashville SC at GEODIS Park on Matchday 9 on Saturday, April 22 (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass).
The MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire is selected each matchday of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio, and online media.
Los Angeles Football Club
Los Angeles Football Club