The 2018 MLS All-Star Game will be on Wednesday in Atlanta, and Los Angeles Football Club has some high-profile representation.
In addition to the selection of LAFC defender Laurent Ciman, voted in the Fan XI for the All-Star Game, taking place this year against Italian champion Juventus, LAFC star Carlos Vela was also voted into the game and also voted captain for the All-Stars in a successful social media campaign.
Vela spoke about the honor of being named captain of the MLS squad in a press conference for the All-Star Game on Monday.
“It’s an honor to be named captain of the MLS All-Stars,” he told reporters. “This is a game where the top players in MLS play and the fact that the fans selected me, represents a big responsibility. All the love they showed me with each vote means a lot, and I want to thank them by playing well, not just this game but the rest of the MLS season as well.”
While an All-Star Game is often deemed a double-edged sword — a midseason friendly that doesn’t provide a break, something demonstrated by LA Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic declining his All-Star Game selection and taking a one-game MLS regular season suspension — Vela was upbeat about the league’s big exhibition event and being called up for the occasion.
“I’m very happy to be in the All-Star Game. Being with this team represents the good season we’re having and shows that individually things are going well and fans like what they see in my game.”
Atlanta United FC head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino, head coach of the MLS All-Stars for the game, was asked about what teams in MLS other than Atlanta he liked. Among the teams mentioned was LAFC.
“I think that, during the year and a half that I’ve been in the league, there have been many teams that have impressed me,” Martino said. “Toronto last year did a great job and was a deserved champion. I have a soft spot for what both Kansas City and Columbus are doing.
“I think the new LA franchise is doing things very well. In the first year of a club, no matter how good the players are, it is always a challenge. It’s a very attractive league and there are many teams that have a very clear style. Some are more offensive, others are more defensive, but in general teams play at a very high level and it’s a very competitive league.”
While the number one priority is to avoid injuries in this game, Vela said he’s focused on having a good time and trying to take a win over Juve.
“As Tata said, we’re here to enjoy but also to win. The fans deserve a great show and we hope to give them a good game,” he said.
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