Major League Soccer Monday announced Los Angeles Football Club forward Carlos Vela as the Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player.

Vela was presented the award during a ceremony at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

The Mexican international saw him set several individual MLS records, while leading LAFC to several team honors as well.

Velas was the overwhelming choice as MVP with a sizable lead over the LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez. He earned almost 70 percent of the vote.

New York City FC midfielder Maxi Moralez and forward Heber finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Winner of the MLS Golden Boot, Vela’s record-breaking regular season set a new league-high of 34 goals in 31 games, with a 1.10 goals-per-game average that ranks No. 1 all-time in league history among players with at least 15 goals in a season. He reached the 20-goal plateau in 20 games – a rate faster than any other player – and his combined 49 goals and assists (34 goals, 15 assists) established yet another milestone.

He became the first MLS player of Mexican descent to win the MVP, exceeding the accomplishments of the many famed former Mexican internationals that came before him. Vela also has the highest career goals total by any Mexican player in MLS history.

During the regular season, Vela helped LAFC capture the Supporters’ Shield and top seed in the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs, as the club set a new all-time points record (72 points), posted the highest-ever goal differential (plus 48), and tied the season team scoring record (85).

Vela’s postseason heroics included two goals and an assist in the conference semifinals for a historic first defeat of LA Galaxy en route to LAFC’s appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference final. With 36 total goals in 2019, Vela’s combined regular-season and postseason tally also set another league best.

Prior to signing with LAFC in August 2017, the Mexican international played for Real Sociedad from 2011-17 in Spain’s La Liga, where he amassed 60 goals over a six-year span following time with Arsenal in the English Premier League and Chivas de Guadalajara in LIGA MX.

Vela started all six appearances with the Mexican National Team during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, recording a goal against South Korea in the group stage. He was also a member of the MNT that competed in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

The Landon Donovan MLS MVP award has been presented since 1996 to the individual determined by a poll of players, club technical staff and the media to be the most valuable to his club. Below is a breakdown of the voting results for 2019.


MLS MVP Player % Club % Media % Final %
Carlos Vela (LAFC) 80.33% 64.65% 63.85% 69.61%
Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA) 6.89% 13.13% 22.31% 14.11%
Josef Martínez (ATL) 5.90% 8.08% 6.92% 6.97%
Maxi Moralez (NYC) 0.66% 8.08% 4.23% 4.32%
Héber (NYC) 0.66% 2.02% 0.38% 1.02%


All-Time MLS Most Valuable Players:
2019: Carlos Vela – Los Angeles Football Club
2018: Josef Martinez – Atlanta United
2017: Diego Valeri – Portland Timbers
2016: David Villa – New York City FC
2015: Sebastian Giovinco – Toronto FC
2014: Robbie Keane – LA Galaxy
2013: Mike Magee – Chicago Fire
2012: Chris Wondolowski – San Jose Earthquakes
2011: Dwayne De Rosario – D.C. United
2010: David Ferreira – FC Dallas
2009: Landon Donovan – LA Galaxy
2008: Guillermo Barros Schelotto – Columbus Crew
2007: Luciano Emilio – D.C. United
2006: Christian Gómez – D.C. United
2005: Taylor Twellman – New England Revolution
2004: Amado Guevara – MetroStars
2003: Preki – Kansas City Wizards
2002: Carlos Ruiz – LA Galaxy
2001: Alex Pineda Chacón – Miami Fusion
2000: Tony Meola – Kansas City Wizards
1999: Jason Kreis – Dallas Burn
1998: Marco Etcheverry – D.C. United
1997: Preki – Kansas City Wizards
1996: Carlos Valderrama – Tampa Bay Mutiny