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2019 Major League Soccer, Regular Season
  • Michael Boxall (75')
  • Carlos Vela (70')

Vela ties goals record, LAFC draw with Minnesota

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Vela reaches 31 goals in LAFC draw (1:33)

LAFC's Carlos Vela tied Atlanta striker Josef Martinez's single-season record of 31 goals in LAFC's 1-1 tie with Minnesota. To watch MLS, sign up for ESPN+. (1:33)

Carlos Vela tied the MLS single-season goals record with his 31st, but LAFC failed to hold a late lead and settled for a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United FC on Sunday night at Saint Paul, Minn.

Vela, who leads the race for the MLS Golden Boot, scored for the ninth time during an eight-game goal streak to break a scoreless stalemate with a nifty left-footer in the 70th minute. That left him level with Atlanta United's Josef Martinez's MLS goal mark from last season.

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However, Minnesota equalized in the 75th minute on Michael Boxall's leaping header off a set-piece volley from Jan Gregus to ignite a rabid response from the home supporters.

The runaway leaders this season, LAFC (20-4-9, 69 points) had already clinched the Supporters' Shield with the best record in MLS and are chasing history in these final days of the regular season. However, Bob Bradley's side is 1-1-5 since late August and needs a win over Colorado on Decision Day next weekend to break the 2018 New York Red Bulls' league record of 71 points.

Minnesota (15-10-8, 53 points), meanwhile, is headed to the playoffs for the first time in the club's three-year existence. The Loons, unbeaten in their last four (2-0-2), are tied for second in the Western Conference with Seattle, holding the tiebreaker entering the final week.

LAFC were the aggressors nearly the entire first half, holding almost 70 percent of the possession and recording nine overall shots. However, they had nothing to show for the effort, as Minnesota keeper Vito Mannone (four saves) was solid throughout the night.

Minnesota, though, was hungry right out of the gate in the second half via Angelo Rodriguez's one-on-one with L.A. keeper Pablo Sisniega. However, Sisniega (six saves), who could be set to overtake Tyler Miller in the LAFC net, kicked away Rodriguez's chance in the 47th minute.

Sisniega also made a stellar diving save to catch a point-blank header from MUFC's Darwin Quintero on 62 minutes, before both sides finally dented the net.

Minnesota took four of the possible six points from LAFC this season.