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LAFC forward Cristian Arango named 2021 MLS Newcomer of the Year

Chicho gets recognition for red-hot start to MLS tenure.

Real Salt Lake v Los Angeles FC Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images

LAFC striker Cristian Arango was named 2021 MLS Newcomer of the Year on Monday. The 26-year-old scored 14 goals and two assists in 17 games this season.

Arango was a runaway winner, beating out the likes of Ryan Gauld of the Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes’ “Chofís” Lopez with a 38.5% total aggregate weighted vote among players, clubs and the media.

The Colombian joined LAFC in the summer transfer window after a stellar season at Millonarios, and while his tenure briefly overlapped with Diego Rossi, he essentially became Rossi’s replacement as a scorer this season with the Uruguayan heading out to Fenerbahçe. Despite playing half of the team’s games this season, Arango was the runaway scoring leader for LAFC, his 14 goals blowing away Rossi and Carlos Vela, neither of whom made it to double digits in goals scored this season. It’s safe to say that LAFC’s quest for the playoffs late in the season, which came up short on the final day, would have ended weeks earlier without Arango’s stellar play dragging them along game by game.

Arango was a two-time MLS Player of the Week this season, became the fourth LAFC player to score a hat trick, and also got a call-up to the Colombian national team off the back of his stellar 2021 club seasons.

Congrats to Chicho for the terrific season and leaguewide award, and here’s hoping this is only the beginning for his accolades with LAFC.

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