Carlos Vela substituted as precaution in LAFC draw with Timbers
The Mexican international did not return to the pitch for the second half of Los Angeles FC’s 1-1 tie against Portland Timbers at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday.
It seemed that the 2019 MLS MVP was back in the Los Angeles FC's opening match of the 2022 MLS season, when Carlos Vela scored a hat-trick against Colorado Rapids. But one week later we saw the Mexican international on the bench, like in the past two injury-plagued seasons, unable to help his team defeat a 10-man Portland Timbers in week two of the campaign at the Banc of California stadium.
Vela didn’t return to the pitch in the second half
The Timbers returned to the second half with the 1-0 lead thanks to an early goal from Yimmy Chará and they were looking to extend their lead, especially knowing that Vela was not going to be on the pitch. LAFC’s coach Steve Cherundolo had to substitute the 33-year-old at half time as a precaution against injury, and Kwadwo Opoku took his place.
"Carlos, we took him off at half time, just precautionary, we're still assessing exactly what it is. But it doesn't seem severe,” said Cherundolo after the game. “Carlos always feels something and like I said, just precautionary. I don’t think it’s anything serious. But our doctors are still assessing.”
Los Angeles FC players got fired up when Portland’s defender Claudio Bravo saw a red card and left his team with one less player in the 62nd minute. Unfortunately, the ‘Black & Gold’ were unable to take advantage of the situation and they had to settle for a draw. Mamadou Fall scored in stoppage time to make it 1-1 and secure a point for LAFC on Sunday night.
“It’s great, I love it, relish that,” said Cherundolo post-game. “It's a clash of two styles of football, and that's always going to be heated. We believe in this, they believe in that, and we'll see who comes out on top. It's a great rivalry. It's great for the league, it's great for our conference, so I can't wait for more.”