Los Angeles FC missed the 2021 Major League Soccer playoffs by a measly three points in 2021. During the offseason, the team added talented veterans to the squad like U.S. Men’s National Team star Kellyn Acosta from the Colorado Rapids and Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau. LAFC also replaced former USMNT manager Bob Bradley with a former national team star in Steve Cherundolo. Despite these changes, 2019 MLS MVP Carlos Vela still drives the bus.
Vela came off at halftime of LAFC’s 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers on Matchday 2, and now Cherundolo has a Carlos Vela injury update that should make LAFC fans breathe a sigh of relief.
Steve Cherundolo downplayed the Carlos Vela injury after LAFC’s last match
When LAFC went to the half against the Portland Timbers last week, the team was down a goal following another stunning bicycle kick from Timbers forward Yimmi Chara.
When the team returned, Kwadwo Opoku was on, and the Carlo Vela injury watch began.
After the game, LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo gave a lukewarm assessment of Vela’s injury. “Carlos, we took up at halftime, just precautionary,” Cherundolo told the media. “We’re still assessing exactly what it is. But it doesn’t seem severe. Carlos always feels something.”
It seems a little harsh for a brand new coach to tell the media that his star player “always feels something.”
However, Cherundolo is nothing if not a straight shooter. He was a longtime captain of both the U.S. and his German pro club, Hanover 96, and he honed his coaching skills as an assistant at several stops in the Bundesliga.
Harsh or not, after pulling Vela off against Portland, the question becomes, will LAFC’s star be ready for the team’s next game vs. David Beckham’s Inter Miami?
Vela should be ready to go vs. Inter Miami
Despite the Carlos Vela injury scare last week, LAFC fans can rest easy after manager Steve Cherudolo’s late-week press conference. The coach assured fans that the team’s leading scorer would be OK for the next game:
As the team heads to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to play Inter Miami, Cherudolo told reporters that his star, who scored three goals in Matchday 1 vs. Colorado Rapids, will be ready to roll:
Carlos was feeling something in and around his knee. Nothing serious. He’s back on the training field after a few days. So, good news … nothing serious, he recovered very quickly, and he’s fine.Steve Cherundolo on Carlos Vela
The news that Vela will play against Inter Miami has to be a relief for LAFC fans. This week’s opponent isn’t particularly intimidating, but taking three points against the teams you need to will be a big step forward if LAFC hopes to make a playoff push this season.
LAFC vs. Inter Miami preview
Inter Miami is an MLS expansion club that debuted in 2020. The team finished 10th in its inaugural season to make the final series playoff but regressed in 2021. The side finished 11th and missed the postseason.
With owner David Beckham’s fellow Manchester United legend, Phil Neville, at the helm for his second year, the team started off earning just one point in two matches. Inter drew its first match 0-0 with the Chicago Fire before taking a 5-1 beat down at the hands (or feet) of Austin FC on Matchday 2.
The team’s struggles stem from MLS sanctions due to the club flaunting the rules to sign French National Team star Blaise Matuidi, putting the squad over the three DP limit.
LAFC, with four points in two matches, is a franchise going the other direction. With Carlos Vela on the field, along with Kellyn Acosta and Cristian Arango upfront, LAFC should make light work of Miami, even on the road.