Before we close the book on LAFC's inaugural season, there are a few awards we've yet to hand out. These team awards have added significance because they are decided on by LAFC GM and EVP John Thorrington, Bob Bradley, and the rest of the technical staff.
Thorrington and co. have decided to hand out three awards for 2018: MVP, Defensive MVP and Community MVP. The awards are pretty self-explanatory, so let's get right to the winners:
2018 LAFC MVP: Carlos Vela
What more can be said about Carlos Vela's first season in MLS? I've written about him numerous times. But in case you missed my heaping of praise on the LAFC Designated Player, you can go here, here, or even here.
I'll rattle off a few stats for you if you want the shorter version of why Vela is deservedly the LAFC MVP. His 14 goals this season led LAFC in the regular season, ranking him seventh in all of the league. He created for his teammates as well. With 13 assists, Vela was sixth in MLS and again the team-leader in that category. He was also named to the MLS Team of the Week on six occasions - the most of any LAFC player this season.
Even more impressive, he accomplished all of that in a World Cup year in which he missed a month of the season as he led Mexico to the knockout round in Russia.
Makes you wonder what he'll have in store in an uninterrupted 2019 season.
LAFC Defensive MVP: Steven Beitashour
For my money, Steven Beitashour is easily a Top 5 right back in MLS. His work rate on the right side of LAFC's defense is second to none. He rarely takes matches off. He's smart about getting forward to help in attack. And in 1v1 situations, I don't think there are many better than Beita.
Coming to LA from Toronto, where he won an MLS Cup in 2017, Beitashour has quietly gone about his work and brought much-needed consistency to the Black & Gold's backline. He's basically a metronome on the right side. So steady and fluid, you only seem to notice when he's not there. But that being said, he did contribute two goals and four assists this season - the most combined production of any LAFC defender - so it's not only all about intangibles with him.
LAFC Community co-MVPs: Tyler Miller and Jordan Harvey
On and off the pitch, these two have been a gift to LAFC fans. Throughout the entire season, the LAFC squad has made it a point to embrace the community that has been a partner with the Club since the beginning.
Tyler Miller and Jordan Harvey deservedly share this award. Both selflessly go out of their way to bring the first team's presence to LAFC community initiatives. From beach clean-ups to toy drives to charity fundraisers, they are there with a smile and happy to lead by example. Below are just two instances of their tireless work in the community in 2018:
Tyler Miller Surprises Pediatric Oncology Patients At Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles
Jordan Harvey Leads The LAFC Toy Drive At Montebello 99 Cents Only Store