CONCACAF Player of the Week: Carlos Vela

CONCACAF Player of the Week
Carlos Vela
AGE 24
PLAYS FOR Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad 2-0 Athletic Bilbao

A statistical revolution is continuing to sweep sports, and soccer is no exception. Numbers play an increasingly large role in how we understand what happens on the field of play. Goals aren't the only things that tell the story, nor are assists. That's part of the reason stats have expanded. Yet with all the metrics we have, sometimes you still need to see a player's performance to contextualize it. That's the case with Carlos Vela's match for Real Sociedad in its Basque derby win against Athletic.

The supporters certainly knew what it was when they saw it, standing to applaud Vela's efforts as he came off in the dying moments of the match. His impact was not only felt in attack, where he so often controls the match, but also when he tracked back.

Vela didn't score, didn't log the most touches, didn't put the most shots on goal, yet he had an undeniable influence on the match. "The player - who wears the regal “Carlos V” on the back of his shirt - has become to Real Sociedad what Lionel Messi is to Barcelona, reinforced by the cries of “Ve-la, Ve-la” ringing out as he was substituted," wrote Goal's Tom Marshall. Marca gave him the highest rating of any player on the pitch, a 7.5, and Vela also earned the highest marks from AS as the only player who merited three spades. In this region, the conversation will always be whether a return to El Tri is in the works. There's never been much doubt that he would help the team. This week's performance is only more evidence.

Congratulations to Carlos Vela, Goal's fourth CONCACAF Player of the Week winner!

  The Shortlist

Javier Hernandez - Man United

It seems to be one step forward and at least that many back for Chicharito, who scored against Swansea but missed other chances that could've seen the Red Devils avoid FA Cup elimination. Nevertheless, his equalizer was key and showed the talent he has to impact matches.

Martin Bravo - Pumas

"Pumas scored just eight goals in 17 games last season, leading to inevitable criticism about the club's forward line. On Sunday against Puebla, Martin Bravo netted a quarter of what the team managed in all the Apertura 2013 in just 37 minutes of the new season. The fact Puebla stormed back to level at 2-2 in second half injury time was hardly the striker's fault." - Goal USA's Tom Marshall

Roger Espinoza - Wigan Athletic

The Honduran midfielder isn't seeing much time during Championship play, but he made the most of a FA Cup opportunity. The former Sporting Kansas City man scored the opener, assisted the third and displayed his hard-nosed style in a 3-3 draw against MK Dons, helping the current holders avoid embarrassment against a League One outfit.

Nery Castillo - Rayo Vallecano

A nearly forgotten man ended his goal drought, as the forward scored his first goal since August 2012 and followed it up with a second goal by converting a penalty kick. The substitute made up for all Rayo's offense in a 5-2 loss to Villarreal. Castillo's countryman, Javier Aquino, played the second half for the victors, while Gio dos Santos didn't feature.