NEW YORK – New York City FC forward Valentín “Taty” Castellanos has won the 2021 MLS Golden Boot after scoring a league-high 19 goals in a tightly contested race that came down the final day of the regular season on MLS Decision Day.

Castellanos claimed the honor via the assist tiebreaker, with his eight assists holding off D.C. United’s Ola Kamara, who also notched 19 goals over the campaign with five assists.

The first NYCFC player to win the award in club history, Castellanos began the season on a tear – scoring a goal in four straight matches to open the 2021 regular season. However, it was his late-season surge of nine goals in 11 matches from July 25 through Sept. 22 that spring boarded him into the race for the Golden Boot presented by Audi. Ending the season with that same momentum, Castellanos emerged as the frontrunner, notching six goals in the last four games, leading NYCFC’s unbeaten streak over that span and solidifying the club’s No. 4 finish in the Eastern Conference to clinch their spot in the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.

“I am very very happy, it’s a dream of mine, when you come to this league and being a forward you want to win it,” he said.  “You want to be at the top of the goal scoring table. The most important as a group was to qualify to the playoffs and play at home, and individually you have your reward, and I am very happy for that. I’m very happy with my teammates, without them I wouldn’t have been able to win anything. Also the coaching staff, the first team staff members and everyone from the club. I am celebrating with them, and they are also very happy. It’s true happiness, that I teared up when I was on the field. I am also celebrating with my family, that have helped me a lot, my friends and for me that was fundamental. So, I’m very happy about that.”

Castellanos also becomes the league’s first player from Argentina to claim the scoring crown and the third player from South America to win the Golden Boot presented by Audi since 2018 alongside Atlanta United’s Josef Martínez (2018) and LAFC’s Diego Rossi (2020). Castellanos’ career high of 19 goals for NYCFC surpass his previous marker of 11 achieved in 2019.

Through his prolific goal-scoring efforts, Castellanos has raised a total of $19,500 for MLS academies through the ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ program, a multi-year initiative launched by Audi and dedicated to expanding the breadth of academy resources through contributions toward player education, housing and transportation. To ensure that young players are supported as they endeavor to maintain excellence on the pitch and in the classroom, the funds raised by Castellanos include $500 per goal scored during the 2021 MLS regular season to be distributed to all MLS academies and an additional $10,000 contribution to the NYCFC Academy for winning the Golden Boot presented by Audi.

 

Major League Soccer Golden Boot/Scoring Champion winners

Season Player Team Goals/Points (G/A)
2021

2020

Valentín Castellanos

Diego Rossi

New York City FC

Los Angeles Football Club

19 goals

14 goals

2019 Carlos Vela Los Angeles Football Club 34 goals
2018 Josef Martínez Atlanta United 31 goals
2017 Nemanja Nikolić Chicago Fire 24 goals
2016 Bradley Wright-Phillips New York Red Bulls 24 goals
2015 Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC 22 goals
2014 Bradley Wright-Phillips New York Red Bulls 27 goals
2013 Camilo Sanvezzo Vancouver Whitecaps FC 22 goals
2012 Chris Wondolowski San Jose Earthquakes 27 goals
2011 Dwayne De Rosario D.C. United 16 goals
2010 Chris Wondolowski San Jose Earthquakes 18 goals
2009 Jeff Cunningham FC Dallas 17 goals
2008 Landon Donovan Los Angeles Galaxy 20 goals
2007 Luciano Emílio D.C. United 20 goals
2006 Jeff Cunningham Real Salt Lake 16 goals
2005 Taylor Twellman New England Revolution 17 goals
2004 Amado Guevara MetroStars 30 (10g, 10a)
Pat Noonan New England Revolution 30 (11g, 8 a)
(TOP 3: Amado Guevara, MetroStars (10g, 10a = 30 pts); Pat Noonan, New England Revolution (11g, 8a = 30 pts); Brian Ching, San Jose Earthquakes (12g, 4a = 28 pts)
2003 Preki Kansas City Wizards 41 (12g, 17a)
(TOP 3: Preki, Kansas City Wizards (12g, 17a = 41 pts); Carlos Ruiz, L.A. Galaxy (15g, 5a = 35 pts); Ante Razov, Chicago Fire (14g, 6a = 34 pts); Taylor Twellman, New England Revolution (15g, 4a = 34 pts)
2002 Taylor Twellman New England Revolution 52 (23g, 6a)
(TOP 3: Taylor Twellman, New England Revolution (23g, 6a = 52 pts); Carlos Ruiz, Los Angeles Galaxy (24g, 1a = 49 pts); Jeff Cunningham, Columbus Crew (16g, 5a = 37 pts)
2001 Alex Pineda Chacón Miami Fusion 47 (19g, 4a)
(TOP 3:  Alex Pineda Chacón, Miami Fusion (19g, 4a = 47 pts); Diego Serna, Miami Fusion, (15g, 15a = 45 pts); John Spencer, Colorado Rapids, (14g, 7a = 35 pts)
2000 Mamadou Diallo Tampa Bay Mutiny 56 (26g, 4a)
(TOP 3: Mamadou Diallo, Tampa Bay Mutiny (26g, 4a = 56 pts); Clint Mathis, Los Angeles/MetroStars, (16g, 14a = 46 pts); Ante Razov, Chicago Fire (18g, 6a = 42 pts); Diego Serna, Miami Fusion, (16g, 10a = 42 pts)
1999 Jason Kreis Dallas Burn 51 (18g, 15a)
(TOP 3: Jason Kreis, Dallas Burn (18g, 15a = 51 pts); Roy Lassiter, D.C. United, (18g, 11a = 47 pts); Ronald Cerritos, San Jose Clash (15g, 9a = 39 pts)
1998 Stern John Columbus Crew 57 (26g, 5a)
(TOP 3: Stern John, Columbus Crew (26g, 5a = 57 pts); Cobi Jones, Los Angeles Galaxy (19g, 13a = 51 pts); Welton, Los Angeles Galaxy (17g, 11a = 45 pts)
1997 Preki Kansas City Wizards 41 (12g, 17a)
(TOP 3: Preki, Kansas City Wizards (12g, 17a = 41 pts); Jaime Moreno, D.C. United, (16g, 8a = 40 pts); Raul Diaz Arce, D.C. United (15g, 6a = 36 pts)
1996 Roy Lassiter Tampa Bay Mutiny 58 (27g, 4a)
(TOP 3: Roy Lassiter, Tampa Bay Mutiny (27g, 4a = 58 pts); Preki, Kansas City Wiz (18g, 13a = 49 pts); Eduardo Hurtado, Los Angeles Galaxy, (21g, 7a = 49 pts)

* up to the 2004 season, the Scoring Champion was determined by total points, with a goal counting two points and assists counting as one. Beginning in 2005, the title was renamed the Golden Boot, and awarded to the leading goalscorer in the season. In case of a tie, the winner will be decided by the player with the most assists; if still tied, the winner will be the player with fewer minutes played.