Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela scored a hat trick in Sunday's regular-season finale against the visiting Colorado Rapids to set a single-season record for goals scored.
Vela entered the day at 31 goals in 2019, equal with the mark that Atlanta's Josef Martinez set last season. He broke the record in the 28th minute, receiving a pass from Latif Blessing outside the box, turning toward goal and curling a 24-yard left footer past Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard. That put LAFC up 1-0.
The Mexican international struck again just three minutes later with a dazzling scissor-kick strike. After Tristan Blackmon headed a cross back across the box from the right side, Vela -- with his back to goal about 7 yards out -- let the ball take one bounce, jumped, turned and struck it with his left foot several feet off the ground, sending it past Howard.
Vela added another for good measure in the 51st minute, easily slotting home a rolling cross from Blackmon off the right wing.
It was Vela's second hat trick of the season --the other came on March 30 -- and his seventh multi-goal game. He scored in each of the final nine regular-season games, totaling 12 goals over that span.
Vela finished with 34 goals in 30 games, after Martinez had 31 in playing all 34 games last season.
The Los Angeles Galaxy's Zlatan Ibrahimovic finished second in MLS with 30 goals after scoring one on Sunday. He played in 29 games.
With Sunday's 3-1 win, LAFC (21-4-9) set a MLS record for points in a season (72), breaking the New York Red Bulls' mark of 71 set last year.
--Field Level Media