The “referees” overseeing United States immigration issued a Green Card for Carlos Vela, the reigning MVP of Major League Soccer, according to an announcement by LAFC today.
The announcement will certainly come as a boon to LAFC executives as they continue to try to improve a roster that reached the Western Conference Semifinals last season in only their second year in the league.
The Green Card for Carlos Vela means that he will no longer occupy an international slot on the club’s roster. Per the rules of roster construction in Major League Soccer, international slots can be traded and acquired, and are an extremely valuable resource for clubs in signing top talent from other countries.
Vela is already having another remarkable season captaining LAFC. The 31-year-old striker notched a brace at Banc of California Stadium in the second leg of their Round of 16 Concacaf Champions League match against Club Leon on February 27th. The two goals helped LAFC to a 3-0 victory on the night to defeat the Liga MX side 3-2 on aggregate after losing 2-0 in Mexico the prior week.
Vela continued his form by scoring LAFC’s first goal of the new campaign in the 2020 Major League Soccer season opener. LAFC defeated expansion side Inter Miami CF three days ago at Banc of California stadium.
Vela joined LAFC in their inaugural season as their first ever Designated Player. Since then, he has tallied 51 goals and 29 assists in an astonishing run of form that has been unparalleled over the course of the first 25 years of Major League Soccer.
Last year Carlos Vela was named the 2019 Landon Donovan Major League Soccer Most Valuable Player after what was unquestionably the great season ever completed by an individual in the history of Major League Soccer.
In 2019, Vela scored a total of 34 goals in only 31 games played in the regular season, good enough for number one on the list of all-time goals-per-game average (1.12 gpg). He had 11 goals and five assists in his first 10 matches of 2019, and scored his first 20 goals in exactly 20 games, making him the first person to ever reach that mark. He also led the league in shots and shots on goal during the regular season.
Vela also tallied 15 assist during the 2019 regular season, which placed him third in the league. His 34 goals and 15 assists for a combined 49 goals contributed to smashed the old MLS record of 38, set by Toronto FC striker Sebastian Giovinco in 2015. Giovinco is the only other person to reach the 20 goals/15 assist mark with his 22 and 16. Ultimately, Vela created a new and even more exclusive club last season— 30 goals and 15 assists.
Green Card for Carlos Vela – 2019 MLS MVP
- 34 goals (1st all-time)
- 25 goals from open play (1st all-time)
- 9 penalty goals (1st)
- 15 assists (3rd)
- 160 shots (1st)
- 71 shots on goal (1st)
- 1.12 goals-per-game average (1st all-time)
- MLS All-Star Game Captain (2nd consecutive year)
- 3x MLS Player of the Month
- 7x MLS Player of the Week
- 17x MLS Team of the Week
The Green Card for Carlos Vela ensures that he can continue building on his legendary status with LAFC going forward. He is the first player of Mexican descent to win MLS MVP. And after two seasons and chance he already has the most career goals by any Mexican player in the history of the league.
Helping LAFC capture the Supporters’ Shield and the top seed in the playoffs, Vela led LAFC in 2019 to the the record for points in a season (72), the highest ever goal differential in league history (+48), and the they tied the single-season team scoring record with 85 goals.
LAFC return to Banc of California Stadium on Sunday to play the Philadelphia Union at 7:30pm PST. Four short days later the club welcome Liga MX side Cruz Azul to the Banc for the first leg of the Champions League Quarterfinals. The second leg takes place at Estadio Azteca on March 18 in Mexico.