Major League Soccer

Carlos Vela nearing return to boost LAFC playoff push

Chris Smith
Vela has missed LAFC's last eight games with a hamstring problem.
Vela has missed LAFC's last eight games with a hamstring problem. / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Bradley is looking forward to Carlos Vela returning and re-energizing the LAFC forward line.

The Black and Gold have suffered a difficult campaign so far and find themselves ninth in the Western Conference, four points adrift of the playoff places ahead of the final six regular-season games.

So influential in years gone by, Vela has featured just 17 times in 2021 and hasn't played at all since 22 August due to a hamstring injury. His absence has been felt that much more with the departure of Diego Rossi to Fenerbahce over the summer.

Now back in training, Bradley has listed Vela as 'questionable' for this weekend's clash against California rivals San Jose Earthquakes.

But with LAFC 12th in MLS for goals scored (38) despite posting the league's highest xG (49.6), Bradley is looking forward to Vela returning and providing his side with the finishing touch they've missed.

“It’s great to have him back," Bradley said (via "He brings football, he brings his way of seeing certain plays, seeing certain passes and finishing great goals. The final part of being a little more dynamic, we’re trying to work through that part. But it’s very positive to see him back on the field.”

On LAFC's wastefulness in front of goal, Bradley added: "I don’t think any of us expected to be where we are after 28 games. We still push, create chances and make it hard for the opponent but for different reasons, we haven’t taken the points."

Alongside Vela, midfielder Eduard Atuesta has also returned to light training.

Getting the duo back in action will be vital for the Black and Gold, who still have key clashes against playoff rivals Vancouver Whitecaps and Minnesota United to come following their meeting with the Quakes.