Major League Soccer MVP Carlos Vela will not accompany Los Angeles FC to the league's return tournament in Orlando this month. Vela announced his decision Monday, citing his concern for the health of his family, including his pregnant wife.
“I always want to give everything I have to my club, our fans and supporters and the city of LA,” Vela said in a statement. “However, it is in the best interest of the health of my family to stay home and be with my wife during what is a risky pregnancy. I will miss being with my teammates and coaches, but I will be cheering and supporting LAFC from a distance.”
Vela scored two goals in the first two games of this season before the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of competition. The Mexican forward was coming off the most spectacular offensive season in MLS history, setting league records with 34 goals and 49 combined goals and assists in 2019.
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He led LAFC to the Supporters' Shield as the league's top regular-season team.
“We stand behind Carlos,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. “It's important for him to be with his family.”
LAFC general manager John Thorrington said Vela expects to rejoin the club when it returns from the tournament in Orlando. Vela was the first player signed by the 3-year-old expansion franchise.