Carlos Vela wasn't kidding about his intention to win MLS MVP honors in 2019.
The Mexican star turned in another stellar performance to lead Los Angeles FC to a 5-0 thrashing of the San Jose Earthquakes and earn him a place on Goal's MLS Best XI for Week 5, making him the first player to earn a Best XI nod three times this season.
Chicago Fire star Bastian Schweinsteiger secured his first nod by helping lead the Chicago Fire to an impressive win against the New York Red Bulls. The German legend was the orchestrator in central defense, providing the passes to help spark the Fire counter on multiple occasions.
No player has made a more impressive MLS debut in 2019 than Alejandro Pozuelo. The Toronto FC newcomer left fans at BMO Field stunned at his display of incredible skill in last Friday's 5-0 humbling of New York City FC.
Here is a look at Goal's picks for the best players in MLS Week 5:
Zack Steffen secured his second Best XI nod of the season with a five-save performance in the torrential downpour at MAPFRE Stadium. He made some stunning saves to keep Atlanta United off the scoreboard, while also providing impressive distribution in awful conditions.
— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) March 31, 2019
Seattle's Stefan Frei made some vital late saves to preserve his latest shutout and help the Sounders secure a road point in Vancouver, earning him an Honorable Mention nod. Frei's three saves were all quality stops. New England's Cody Cropper deserves a mention for how well he performed in his first start of 2019.
Bastian Schweinsteiger was the orchestrator in the back, but his passing was matched by his outstanding defensive contributions, which included 11 clearances and eight recoveries. Doneil Henry wasn't the only Vancouver defender to stand out in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Seattle, but his goal-line clearances helped preserve the shutout and capped a strong night for the Canadian defender. Jalil Anibaba was instrumental in New England recording its first win of 2019, not only with his goal, but with a team-high eight interceptions.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 30, 2019
Vancouver's Erik Godoy was excellent for the Whitecaps, cleaning up several threats in the penalty area to secure the shutout. He secured an Honorable Mention nod along with D.C. United's Steve Birnbaum , who scored the opener to help D.C. move back into first place in the East. LAFC's Steven Beitashour was the best fullback in MLS in Week 5, scoring a goal and delivering an assist.
Paxton Poymkal scored a pair of goals to help FC Dallas roll past Real Salt Lake, while David Accam secured a Best XI place for the second straight week, this time for his hand in both goals in Philadelphia's impressive road win against FC Cincinnati.
Alejandro Pozuelo had an MLS debut for the ages, scoring twice and setting up another goal in TFC's rout over NYCFC, including a favorite for MLS goal of the week:
— Toronto FC (@torontofc) April 1, 2019
Carlos Vela was unstoppable once again, notching his first MLS hat-trick to lead league-leading LFC past hapless San Jose.
The midfield is crowded for Honorable Mention selections, with LA Galaxy midfielder Joe Corona having a big hand in the Galaxy's win against Portland and FC Dallas' Michael Barrios serving up a pair of assists to help Luchi Gonzalez's men secure the victory.
There were a plethora of forward options this week, but Kristian Nemeth earned his place with his hat-trick in Sporting Kansas City's 7-1 thrashing of the Montreal Impact. The entire front three for Sporting KC played well enough to merit Best XI consideration, with Gerso Fernandes and Johnny Russell garnering Honorable Mention nods this week.
Aberth Elis secured his second Best XI spot in three weeks by having a hand in all four of the Houston Dynamo's goals in their win against the Colorado Rapids, while Wayne Rooney made it to his second Best XI of the season for his goal and assist in D.C. United's 2-1 road win against Orlando City, including this stunning finish that proved to be the game-winner:
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 31, 2019
Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted a pair of penalty kicks to help the LA Galaxy beat Portland, notching an Honorable Mention spot in the process, while Jozy Altidore was back to his best, with a goal and active overall performance in TFC's rout of NYCFC.