The honor caps off an outstanding season for Vela, who broke single-season records for goals with 34 as well as combined goals and assists with 49. Vela had 14 goals and 13 assists in 2018, his first in MLS after arriving from La Liga side Real Sociedad.
His production — he scored in 25 of his 31 appearances — helped LAFC claim the Supporters’ Shield with a league-record 72 points, though the Black and Gold fell short of their ultimate goal, losing in the Western Conference finals to the Seattle Sounders 3-1.
Vela easily outdistanced the competition, garnering 69% of the vote over runner-up Zlatan Ibrahimovic of the LA Galaxy.
Ibrahimovic enjoyed a spectacular season of his own with 30 regular-season goals, but garnered just 14% of the vote. Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez, the 2018 MVP, was third.