The last time Carlos Vela spoke to the press, he was understandably focused on working hard during the three-week break in play for LAFC.
That last appearance came after LAFC’s chastening 2-1 loss to New York City FC in May, and Vela, still coming back from injury, vowed to work hard to get right when play resumed.
Now, with that return fixture around the corner, Saturday at The Banc, Vela was all smiles and excited to feature in front of what could be a capacity crowd against the Houston Dynamo.
“For us it’s important to have our fans in the stadium, feel the energy. Personally, when I have the pressure from the fans I play better. I feel like ‘It’s a gameday. I have to show our fans how good I am,’” Vela told reporters on Thursday.
Vela seemed to make a real connection between the team’s form when The Banc is at its most energized and when they’ve played the best over the years, and when asked to make a message for the fans for Saturday, made it clear how much he’s looking forward to The Banc being back at its best.
“I think we are more excited than them to have fans in our stadium,” he said. “And I just want you to enjoy with us, you can celebrate goals with us, three points and get back the real, all the good things we create in these four years now. I can’t wait to see you there and hope you can enjoy.”
"Personally when I have the pressure of the fans, I play better. I feel like it's a game day and I have to show our fans how good I am."— LAFC (@LAFC) June 17, 2021
Training Report presented by @DrinkBODYARMOR. pic.twitter.com/4WkyE4jGv0
Obviously, the energy of the fans can only do so much, and the responsibility ultimately lies with the team. Vela said he has faith that even though the team’s been on a bad run to start this season, there’s a lot of season left to be played and he’s confident in the group.
“Honestly I trust in our team, in the way we play, in the players we have. We just need to get the rhythm back and get some wins and we will be in a good position for sure,” he said.
Vela has long played in football-crazy countries, and he said there is a noticeable difference between crowds in Europe and in MLS.
“It’s really different. There in Europe it’s more like they go to enjoy the game, but here it’s a party,” Vela said with a grin. “They come like crazy, they drink a lot, they get excited every weekend and we can feel that. We can feel that emotion. And when you see the crowd, even the 100 percent is you feel like ‘I have to do the same.’ So let’s go for it, I bring my best and let’s win games.”
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