LAFC star striker Carlos Vela, the reigning MLS MVP, is expected to opt out of playing in the MLS is Back Tournament, according to ESPN. The former Real Sociedad star is contemplating whether to play and hasn’t reached a final decision, according to the report.
Vela is considering sitting out because his wife currently being pregnant with their second child. Family and friends are not allowed to stay inside the league’s bubble at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando.
There’s a growing concern among players and front-office staff around the league over just how safe the environment will be, despite the league’s protective measures. On Wednesday, six FC Dallas players were confirmed to have tested positive, with the total now reportedly now at nine.
Not having Vela would likely move LAFC from favorite to second-tier contender. Vela has 57 goals in 72 matches for LAFC.
If he can’t play, Diego Rossi would likely slot in at the No. 9 position. Not having the league MVP is an obvious blow, though LAFC still has enough quality to make a deep run. This tournament’s matches count towards the MLS regular season standings, and the winner clinches a CONCACAF Champions League berth.
For the entire tournament schedule, click here.