LAFC’s Carlos Vela and Galaxy’s Chicharito won’t take part in MLS All-Star activities
For months MLS has been hyping this week’s all-star exhibitions with Liga MX around former Mexican national team stars Javier “Chicharito” Hernández of the Galaxy and Carlos Vela of LAFC, putting the players on posters, using them in ads and scheduling both to appear at news conferences.
Then on Monday the league scratched the players from the week’s activities because of injuries. Both were set to take part in Tuesday’s All-Star Skills Challenge, a two-hour event matching eight stars from MLS and the Mexican league in five events, and Wednesday’s All-Star game at Banc of California Stadium, the first to match an MLS team against a team of Liga MX players.
“It’s a shame they’re not going to be playing,” Columbus Crew midfielder Lucas Zelarayan said.
The San Jose got an own goal in the 71st as the Earthquakes beat the Galaxy 2-1 in the California Clasico as coach Greg Vanney’s patience runs out.
An MLS spokesperson said the absence of Hernández and Vela from the all-star activities means both will also have to sit out Saturday’s nationally televised El Tráfico rivalry match between the Galaxy and LAFC.
Hernández has missed the last two months with a calf strain, the same injury that cost him two months last season. But he has reportedly been making progress in training — just not enough to play an exhibition event.
“No risk should be taken,” Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese said of Hernández.
Vela, meanwhile, left LAFC’s game Saturday in the 15th minute with a right quadriceps issue. The LAFC captain, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, injured his quadriceps in the first game this year and has been troubled by it all season.
“The game will miss Carlos of course,” said LAFC coach Bob Bradley, who will manage the MLS all-stars. “But there’s a lot of really good players. When you play an All-Star Game in the middle of the year, injuries sometimes get in the way.”
Christen Press is the first player to join the Angel City FC lineup as the expansion club begins building its roster ahead of its debut season in 2022.
New England’s Carles Gil and Tajon Buchanan have also pulled out of the All-Star game. As replacements, MLS named Inter Miami midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro and Atlanta United defender George Bello to the roster. Pizarro and LAFC’s Diego Rossi will replace Hernández and Vela in Tuesday’s skills challenge at Banc of California.
Hernández is Mexico’s all-time leading scorer with 52 international goals. He was leading MLS with 10 goals when he went to the sidelines in early July. Vela, who played in two World Cups for Mexico, broke the single-season MLS scoring record with 34 goals for LAFC in 2019.