Steve Cherundolo reveals why he substituted Carlos Vela in Portland Timbers tie

Lizzy Becherano
Los Angeles Football Club's Carlos Vela exited Sunday's match as a precaution
Los Angeles Football Club's Carlos Vela exited Sunday's match as a precaution / Abbie Parr/GettyImages

LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo explained the reason star forward Carlos Vela exited the pitch after only playing 45 minutes against the Portland Timbers, revealing it was just 'precautionary'.

Fans were shocked to see the Mexican forward replaced at half-time after his spectacular display in LAFC’s season opener a week prior. Vela recorded a hat-trick against the Colorado Rapids on February 26 that left supporters thinking El Rey had returned to his original form. 

But Cherundolo revealed why Vela was only able to complete 45 minutes in the following game.

"Carlos, we took up at half-time, just precautionary, we're still assessing exactly what it is. But it doesn't seem severe. Carlos always feels something, like I said, just precautionary. I don't think it's anything serious. But our doctors are still assessing," he said.

The player’s last two years in Major League Soccer have been plagued by injury, severely limiting his time on the pitch. 

In 2020, Vela featured in only seven matches for the Western Conference side after suffering a knee lesion. The following year, the forward upped his tally to 20 games but couldn’t truly find his form due to hamstring issues.

Vela set high expectations for himself after scoring 14 goals in 28 during his debut season in 2018 and going on to break MLS records in his second campaign. In 2019, the star attacker recorded 34 goals in 31 matches to win the league’s Golden boot, Supporters’ Shield and MVP award. 

LAFC returns to the pitch on March 12 against Inter Miami at DRV PNK stadium in Fort Lauderdale.