NC_CHICHO-16x9

LAFC forward Cristian “Chicho” Arango has been named the 2021 MLS Newcomer of the Year, Major League Soccer announced Monday.

The annual award recognizes the year’s most impactful new MLS player – and the Colombian national team attacker shone brightest among a class of nearly 250 star-studded newcomers that averaged 22.8 years of age and hailed from 53 countries.

Arango, who joined LAFC on Aug. 2 from Colombian top-flight side Millonarios FC, contributed a team-high 14 goals and two assists across his first 17 MLS appearances. Those efforts kept the Black & Gold in Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs contention through Decision Day.

He was named MLS Player of the Week twice this season (Weeks 24 & 31) and was on the MLS Team of the Week presented by Audi on three occasions. He also became the fourth player in LAFC history to register a hat trick, scoring three times vs. FC Dallas on Oct. 20.

The 26-year-old ranked second in MLS in goals per 90 minutes (0.90) behind D.C. United forward Ola Kamara (0.94). He even entered LAFC's history books when scoring the fastest goal in club history, tallying just 20 seconds into a Sept. 12 game against Real Salt Lake – equalling the eighth-fastest goal in MLS history.

The Newcomer of the Year award was voted on by MLS club technical staff, media and current MLS players.

Below is a breakdown of the voting results, with Arango beating out Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Ryan Gauld and San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Eduardo “Chofis” López.

Voting Results
Players
Clubs
Media
TOTAL
Arango, Cristian 'Chicho' (LAFC)
32.80%
36.40%
46.30%
38.50%
Gauld, Ryan (VAN)
7.80%
27.30%
13.30%
16.13%
Lopez, Eduardo 'Chofis' (SJ)
6.30%
3.00%
9.90%
6.40%
Araujo, Luiz (ATL)
10.90%
3.00%
2.50%
5.47%
Gregore (MIA)
1.60%
9.10%
2.00%
4.23%

MLS Newcomer of the Year Winners

  • 2021: Cristian Arango – Los Angeles Football Club
  • 2020: Lucas Zelarayán – Columbus Crew SC
  • 2019: Carles Gil – New England Revolution
  • 2018: Zlatan Ibrahimović – LA Galaxy
  • 2017: Miguel Almirón – Atlanta United
  • 2016: Nicolás Lodeiro – Seattle Sounders FC
  • 2015: Sebastian Giovinco – Toronto FC
  • 2014: Pedro Morales – Vancouver Whitecaps FC
  • 2013: Diego Valeri – Portland Timbers
  • 2012: Federico Higuaín – Columbus Crew SC
  • 2011: Mauro Rosales – Seattle Sounders FC
  • 2010: Álvaro Saborío – Real Salt Lake
  • 2009: Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC
  • 2008: Darren Huckerby – San Jose Earthquakes
  • 2007: Luciano Emílio – D.C. United