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LAFC's Vela out of MLS restart, cites pregnant wife

Published on: 06 July 2020

LAFC forward Carlos Vela will not participate in the MLS is Back Tournament, the club and player announced on Monday.

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Reigning MLS MVP Vela, whose wife is pregnant, had long been unlikely to participate in the tournament, as ESPN reported earlier this month.

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"I would like nothing more than to be with my teammates in Orlando. I always want to give everything I have to my Club, our fans and supporters and the city of L.A. 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," Vela said in a statement.

The league's setup on the grounds of the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando prohibits family and friends from staying inside the bubble meant to protect teams amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"LAFC fully supports and respects the difficult decision Carlos and his family have made to not participate in the MLS Is Back Tournament. We have had numerous conversations with Carlos throughout this process and understand his unique situation and the importance of Carlos being home with his family at this time. We appreciate the support from the league, and we look forward to having Carlos re-join the Club when we return from Orlando and begin moving forward with the rest of the season," LAFC general manager John Thorrington said.

The absence of former Mexico international Vela, 31, is a significant blow for LAFC. He has scored 57 goals in 72 league, playoff and cup appearances.

However, the Black and Gold would still be among the tournament favorites. LAFC is the reigning holder of the Supporters' Shield, emblematic of the best regular-season record, and the team returned the bulk of its players this season.

LAFC is scheduled to travel to Orlando on Monday afternoon ahead of its first game July 13 against Houston Dynamo.


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