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.
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) November 7, 2021
“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
|New York City FC
Los Angeles Football Club
|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.