Carlos Vela is less concerned about personal milestones, like the one he achieved Wednesday, than having Los Angeles FC set the pace for Major League Soccer.
Vela scored against Austin FC to become the third-fastest player in MLS history to reach 100 combined goals and assists, but a 2-1 loss in a battle of the top teams in the league meant a second straight defeat.
LAFC (7-3-2, 23 points) will attempt to end that skid Saturday at the struggling Columbus Crew (3-4-4, 13 points).
"After two defeats it is time to show character and the personality of the team to get out of this situation and get back in a win and in the top of the table," Vela said. "This is where we want to be. It's a good time for the players to show how good we are as a team."
The forward scored a penalty kick against Austin to give him 62 goals and 38 assists in 98 games. Only former Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco (95 games) and ex-Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Keane (96 games) reached the century mark quicker.
"You feel good about yourself," Vela said of personal records, "but in the end if you finish your career and you never win a trophy you feel that you missed something."
The Crew are 1-4-3 in the past eight games and were blanked for a fifth time this season, 2-0, at New York City FC in their previous match. The answer to their offensive woes could be Derrick Etienne Jr.
Etienne's seven combined goals contributed (three goals, four assists) are already better than his previous career best six (one goal, five assists) in 29 games last season.
"We understand how tough LAFC is," Etienne said. "We're looking forward to it because this is a time for us to test ourselves against the best teams."
--Field Level Media