Mexican marksman Carlos Vela has the Western Conference title in his sights — and that is the best news possible for followers of Los Angeles FC, the team skippered by the former Arsenal goal-getter.
Deadly Vela put a big smile on the face of head coach Bob Bradley — the former coach of the USA national team — as he hit the 15th goal of the campaign when his side eased past visitors Montreal Impact with a 4-2 win at Banc of California Stadium.
The victory meant LAFC stay top of the pile ahead of Seattle Sounders FC who are in second with 26 points, eight fewer than the leaders but having played 14 games to the front-runners’ 15. LA Galaxy are in third spot on 25 points.
The victory also extended their unbeaten run to seven matches — they are unbeaten at home — but it also sets up Vela in direct opposition with LA Galaxy ace Zlatan Ibrahimovic as they both race ahead in the season MVP stakes. Another target both of these incredible attackers are going for is the MLS record for most goals in a season, a record currently held by Venezuelan forward Josef Martínez who hit 31 goals for Atlanta United in 2018.
It is, as you would imagine, Vela who gets all the headlines in the MLS — and justifiably so after his goal-scoring antics. But ask LAFC general manager John Thorrington who is the most important man at the club (perhaps, apart from himself!) and he would, without doubt, point to the hugely experienced boss Bradley.
“Some teams have designated players such as the Carlos Vela, and I thank our ownership for that, but every team has these other players. The rare skill that Bob Bradley has is getting the most out of the top end guys as well as educating the players across our roster. It’s a unique skill that we are benefitting from and will continue as we start bringing in more academy players. Usually, it’s an ‘either, or’ in terms of managing stars v. developing young talent and Bob, as he’s shown throughout his career, has the ability to do both.”
Thorrington has nothing but praise for Bradley and the way he goes about his role and he believes the abundance of experience he has in his armoury helps no end when it comes to shaping the club’s recruitment process.
“Our collaborative process and internal conversations about player identification and recruitment is not siloed. The benefit of having Bob, myself, our scouts, our data analysts and everybody involved in conversations, everybody sheds lights on these guys in different ways. Bob’s experience in knowing what he wants, us understanding what will work with him, identifying the guys then the recruitment of bringing them in is the last step.”