While the battle to lift the MLS Cup is the main attraction this season, the race to land the Golden Boot as the competition’s leading scorer provides a fascinating sub-plot to the campaign.
Last year, Los Angeles FC’s Uruguayan hotshot Diego Rossi pipped the chasing pack to the individual gong when he hit 14 goals in 19 appearances for his club, winning the honour with the lowest haul since the award’s inaugural season back in 2005.
The 23-year-old is among the bookmakers’ favourites to fire his way to the top of the charts again this season, though several of his rivals’ odds make for interesting reading. Check out some of the other main Golden Boot contenders alongside our predictions and picks below.
Make sure to check out our 2021 MLS outright predictions and picks article here!
2021 MLS Golden Boot Winner Odds
- Raul Ruidiaz (Seattle Sounders) – 2/1
- Javier Hernandez (LA Galaxy) – 7/2
- Daniel Salloi (Sporting Kansas City) – 16/1
- Nani (Orlando City) – 16/1
- Diego Rossi (Los Angeles FC) – 16/1
- Gonzalo Higuain (Inter Miami) – 20/1
Raul Ruidiaz (Seattle Sounders) – 2/1
Peruvian international Raul Ruidiaz came close to earning a share of the Golden Boot award last year when he notched 12 goals for Seattle Sounders during the COVID-hit MLS campaign, though the 30-year-old looks well on course to post his best numbers in the US since he moved north from Mexico in 2018 this time around.
Ruidiaz is already into double figures for the 2021 season, hitting his ten goals in just 13 appearances for Sounders. However, at 2/1 odds, backing the ex-Morelia man holds little appeal and bettors are advised to consider some of his rivals for the Golden Boot instead.
Javier Hernandez (LA Galaxy) – 7/2
Prolific Mexican frontman Javier Hernandez looks a far better prospect in the markets at 7/2 with bet365. The vastly experienced forward – who turned 33 in June – has scored ten goals in his ten starts for Galaxy despite racking up fewer attempts per game than many of his Golden Boot rivals.
Chicharito had to endure an injury-stricken first year in Los Angeles following his move to the United States in 2020, though the 109-times capped international seems to have left his fitness issues behind and Hernandez looks a level or two above the defenders he is currently tormenting.
Daniel Salloi (Sporting Kansas City) – 16/1
Hungarian winger Daniel Salloi makes an appearance as joint third favourite to win the MLS Golden Boot in 2021 at 16/1 odds with bet365, though the 24-year-old probably isn’t worth backing at so short a price.
Salloi has already scored an impressive seven times for The Wizards this term, though he is very much a wide attacker enjoying a hot streak among more reliable specialist strikers. Salloi’s career-best total for a season was 14 back in 2018, though the average haul for Golden Boot winners over the past decade is 24.1 and the Hungarian shouldn’t be expected to hit those heights.
Nani (Orlando City) – 16/1
Portuguese flier Nani is one of the MLS’s most exciting performers, but there is little chance of the veteran attacker finishing as the competition’s top scorer in 2021.
Nani has started the campaign brightly with six goals in ten games, though his remit for Orlando is generally as a creative rather than a goalscoring component in their team. Regularly deployed on the flank, the 34-year-old has played more key passes per 90 minutes than any of his Lions’ teammates, so expect the former Man Utd starlet to be a chance creator rather than a converter.
Diego Rossi (Los Angeles FC) – 16/1
Current Golden Boot holder Diego Rossi has made an uncharacteristically slow start to the new MLS season and his modest four-goal haul leaves him well behind the early front runners in the race for top spot in 2021.
Time is still on Rossi’s side however and the Uruguayan could be worth a small stake at 16/1 to climb the charts in the second half of the season. The return to form of inventive teammate Carlos Vela should aid Rossi’s cause. Vela claimed three assists his last five starts for LA and a more consistent supply from the 32-year-old should see Rossi’s conversion rates jump.
Gonzalo Higuain (Inter Miami) – 20/1
Highly-decorated Argentinean striker Gonzalo Higuain is among the most high-profile players in the MLS, though the 33-year-old is priced at 20/1 in the Golden Boot market for good reason.
Higuain’s return of five goals from seven MLS starts this season is seriously impressive, though maintaining that strike rate should prove difficult in a struggling Inter Miami team.
The Herons are one place off the foot of the Eastern Conference and while Higuain certainly isn’t short on quality, the supporting cast behind the striker most definitely are.