Vela vs. Hernandez – Who’s The Best Mexican In The MLS?

Carlos Vela – LAFC

Mar 7, 2020; Carson, California, USA; LA Galaxy forward Chicharito (14) kicks the ball against the Vancouver Whitecaps in the second half at Dignity Health Sports Park. The Whitecaps won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

He might have flopped at Arsenal back in the day, but Carlos Vela has more than proven his class since linking up with Bob Bradley’s LA project back in 2018.

Having struggled to really establish himself as a prolific regular for Arsenal following his graduation from the youth team back in 2005, Vela was sent on a flurry of disappointing loan spells before finally hitting some form with Real Sociedad in the 2011-12 season where he bagged 12 goals in 37 appearances.

That was followed by a permanent signing for Sociedad and Vela becoming one of the most underrated forwards on the continent. Between the 2012-13 season and the 2017-18 campaign Vela registered 73 goals in 250 appearances, earning the honour of being LAFC’s first ever designated player following his signing in August 2017.

He scored the first ever goal in the El Trafico derby against LA Galaxy in July 2018 and would go onto establish himself as the most dangerous forward active in Major League Soccer. His return of 15 goals from 31 games was a strong return for a league debutant, but in 2019 his class really came to the fold.

Over the course of the 2019 MLS season, Vela made 36 appearances for LAFC, hit fifteen assists and scored a frankly ridiculous 38 goals in all competitions. Gifted with so much skill, balance and a natural flair on the ball, Vela is the fastest player in MLS history to rack up twenty goals in  a season, holds the record for the most amount of goals scored in a campaign, and has won two MLS Best XI nominations, a MLS Golden Boot and an MLS MVP award. He has been undeniably sensational and is the key reason behind LAFC’s rise to the top of North American soccer betting markets.

Javier Hernandez – LA Galaxy

Mar 8, 2020; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela (10) walks on the field during the game against the Philadelphia Union at Banc of California Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

One of Carlos Vela’s Mexican compatriots, we might be putting our necks on the line when we call Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez one of the MLS’ best players right now, given the fact he only joined up with the league back in January 2020.

But there’s simply no denying the pedigree and proficiency of the forward Galaxy are bringing in with Chicharito.

Signed by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson from his native Mexico on the eve of the 2010-11 season, Chicharito’s ‘fox in the box’ approach to the role of a forward proved to be the perfect mould for a Premier League striker.

He broke 20 goals in his debut season with the Red Devils from 45 appearances and would win the Premier League and start in that year’s Champions League final against Barcelona at Wembley. 18 of those appearances came off the bench and he actually ended that campaign as the most clinical player in the entire league, with every single one of his goals coming from inside the box.

Another Premier League trophy would come for Chicharito in 2012-13, Ferguson’s final year with the club, and he has since gone onto perform admirably for the likes of Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and West Ham United.

It remains to be seen just how dangerous the Little Pea can be in Major League Soccer, but 426 appearances and 156 goals across a career is far from a bad record to be bringing with you.

About Marcelo Villa

Marcelo is an associate editor at The Sports Daily, and has covered the San Diego Chargers for Bleacher Report. He also writes for Sportsdirect Inc.