MLS, story of Carlos Vela’s incredible season

In MLS, the last day of the Regular Season has a high-sounding name, excellent for a Hollywood script but much less, in reality, for the last day of MLS 2019: Decision Day.

This year, in fact, there was very little to decide: some playoff spots, especially the advantage of playing the first playoff game at home. In such a scenario, the word Decision ended up fitting like a beautiful tailored suit in minor issues, such as the race for the Golden Boot, that is, the title of top scorer. In dispute there were two players with a different ability to attract attention, but in both unique cases.: Carlos Vela and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the two stars of the two Los Angeles teams (Galaxy and Los Angeles FC).

In the end, it was the Mexican who beat Zlatan by four goals thanks to a hat-trick scored against Colorado Rapids, that is Tim Howard’s team: the man who in the 2014 World Cup, against Belgium, did sixteen saves in the same game and that on the day of his retirement he had to bow to LAFC four times, three times to this guy with the messy hair, the bags under his eyes, airy enough of someone doing you a favor by playing, who seems to be trying to make a funny face too when haggling with his daughter.

Would you say that Carlos Vela likes to play soccer?

The hat-trick itself is also very nice (there is a reverse goal, to say: we arrived), but above all it allowed Vela to reach 34 total goals, enough to break the record for goals scored in a single season. , which was just last year and belonged to jose martinez. Other numbers that bring us back the absurdity of vintage Vela? Thirty-four is twice as many goals as Vela scored in his best season in LaLiga, 2013-14, and 20 more than last year.

The 34 goals came in 31 games, in 160 shots, of which 71 on goal: one shot out of two, practically, ended up in the bag. Oh, and he also had 15 assists.

To be honest LAFC entire season it was sensational. The aurinegrosnickname that recalls the gold and black of the shirt, che last year in the inaugural season they had already occupied the railway on which the drum cars rattle, this year they broke the records for the most points scored (72), goals scored (85) and greatest goal difference (+48). It was since 1998 that a team (then the Galaxy) did not score so much. And Carlitos scored 57.6% of those goals, also lifting the first trophy of his career at club level, the Supporters’ Shield (I was disappointed too, though).

Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images

It is curious that the first trophy won by Vela brings in the name the most vilified category throughout his career, and it is the fans, first of all, frustrated by the continuous mismatch between expectations and, after all, the cost that ended up taking. . his parable. Because the star that announces itself to the world as the next big thing in it 2005 Under-17 World Cup (he won, and of which he was the top scorer) he never gave up Really visible to our telescopes, confined to the degrading limb of what could have been. And at this point we thought that what we had imagined in our minds for the future of Vela, which in the meantime has become present, would no longer be realized.. So that’s when Bob Bradley asked him to go like messigood: it seemed to us that we were facing someone who never understood whose It was Carlos Vela

This year, however, Vela proved us all wrong: he scored 25 goals in open play, and is Really become, for LAFC, what Messi is for Barcelona. In addition, he added a good dose of commitment that was neither lawful nor easy to foresee.

You’ll be pleased to meet this thug version of Carlos Vela, fresh out of the Bank of California.

After all, the Sailing season contained the prodromes of what it would have been from the beginning. In mid-March, for example, he scored two goals at Yankee Stadium, the first of which was:

The goal itself is nothing spectacular: Vela has a lot of space in front of him, controls with the left, a delicate control as a player with a sublime technique, three touches of which the last, from outside, is a putter shot to put it in the corner. However, I like the jubilation of this situation: Vela, the shy Carlos Vela, provocatively mimics a home run. On the field of the Yankees. even seems funny. This time for real.

Two weeks later, in San José, LAFC crushes the Earthquakes: they win 5-0 and Vela scores one of his two season hat-tricks. The first goal reinforces the image of Vela mocking, pompous, basically asshole that we have already made in New York. On a seemingly innocuous throw, SJ’s goalkeeper Vega throws in a very bad empty start. Vela trots towards the unprotected door, she could lower it and instead brakes, advances the sphere a little more. Behind Guram Kashia (with whom, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t do a battle of rhymes) arrives as if he had the idea of ​​taking Vela’s skeleton home to hang it in the living room on the Day of the Dead. And instead Vela waits until the last available moment before putting the ball in the net.

And in that match there was also time for another disrespect in his own way, this time for manifest technical superiority: a kind of rainbow drawn in the California skies.

After that goal, Vela rejoices by opening his arms, imitating a gesture of supremacy that is not a mimicry of Zlatan (for which in the end Carlos instead cultivates a deep respect, apparently) but the naive but honest observation of the prodigy that takes shape. the prodigy is pass almost literally via two opponents as if they were a toll booth and he had a telepass, or the hypnosis with which he makes defenders fall to the ground as if they were drunk.

This is already the 17th goal of the season, and we were only at the beginning of July. In the middle there were many goals with a soft touch, solo fly balls, some tap-ins, and above all his most classic play, which is the return play from the right wing with the left shot, on the contrary. post. . LAFC at this point has become an object that, with all due respect to Bob Bradley, transcends tactics, modules and rests almost exclusively on the presence of Carlos Vela.

And now you should see goal number 18, scored in Vancouver.

You know the stop, right? Here, that type of game is exactly the sum of what Carlos Vela, this year, at that point, had become: a player who walks on water, who achieves everything and achieves everything well, very well. Someone who has such a level of self-confidence that, if he wanted to, he could dribble past all opponents and walk straight into the goal. Which is exactly what he does just six weeks later.

The way Vela first avoids the exit and then the intervention from behind with which Mario Vega, Argentinian goalkeeper for the San José Earthquakes, tries to kill him with a blow to the back of the head, has an ethereal beauty. A kind of lightness it seems, as I see it:

At this point, one wonders if Vela’s three goals scored on Decision Day, and the consequent conquest of the title of top scorer, call into question the idea we had of Vela at the beginning of the piece. Because they raise even more questions about him: Is he a player who has underperformed him all these years? Is he too technical a player for MLS? Or did he just decide that 2019 should be the year he leaves behind a shining memory of himself, after an all gray career?

you can click hereinstead, if you refrain from overthrowing.

“I’m very happy with the decisions I’ve made throughout my career,” he said earlier this season. “They may have been good or bad, but deep down I always chose what made me happy.”

At this point, one would have to ask oneself, then, if among the things that not competitiveness or being the center of attention make Carlos Vela happy. In an interview for Canal Plus, in 2014, he said that to be completely honest about football It wasn’t that he was so passionate about it. That he had not played a World Cup or on the PlayStation, and that he preferred basketball “but a thousand times more”.

All the more reason his talent leaves you amazed, because it grew alone like a weed, like capers among steep rocks, without special care, without premeditation: nevertheless, it is alive and well observable from the outside, if it is true that last year, before deciding to face Kevin-Prince Boateng, even barcelona had looked for him.

Carlos Vela’s 34 goals (and the playoffs are still to come, mind you) this year will never give us a completely clean picture, perhaps, of the Mexican playoff. We will continue to wonder why Carlitos has decided not to satisfy us, to go his own way.

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