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LAFC re-sign captain Carlos Vela

Foundational piece not going anywhere.

Colorado Rapids v Los Angeles FC Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images

The Carlos Vela “Will he or won’t he?” saga with LAFC is resolved, finally, as the team captain re-signed with the club days before his original contract was set to expire.

It appears the new deal is through the end of the 2023 season as a Designated Player. The news was confirmed on Sunday by Vela himself, talking to ESPN’s Herculez Gomez, after ESPN’s Taylor Twellman initially reported the agreement on Saturday.

Vela, 33, has been with LAFC since the club began play in 2018. Joining from Real Sociedad, Vela was the club’s first Designated Player, finishing his debut season in MLS as the team’s second-leading scorer after missing a major chunk of the season while at the World Cup with Mexico.

In 2019 Vela had the best attacking season to date in MLS history, scoring 34 goals and 15 assists in the regular season, helping LAFC win the Supporters’ Shield and winning the MLS Golden Boot and MLS MVP awards.

The 2020 and 2021 seasons were marked with injuries for Vela, who still scored nine goals in 27 regular season appearances across those two seasons. He was, however, stunning in the 2020 Concacaf Champions League, carrying the team to the final where they nearly won the whole thing, as he scored five goals in five games in that competition.

Vela is the leading scorer and assist man in LAFC history, the leading Mexican scorer in MLS history, and one of the best to play in MLS in history. Now, he will get to continue to burnish that resumé.

This deal is significant, in no small part because he is not going to leave the club midseason. MLS teams typically do not have contracts end in the middle of the season, and for such a high-profile player to be in that position was truly unprecedented. But after we were told for months that Vela’s re-signing was imminent while the days to the end of his contract approached, the situation was far from settled in spite of the reports.

It’s been a good run with Vela so far, and hopefully he helps them win some more trophies while he’s in the black-and-gold. Vamos Carlitos!

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