LAFC star striker Carlos Vela, the reigning MLS MVP, will not play in the upcoming MLS is Back Tournament, according to the Los Angeles Times. Vela will stay at home with his pregnant wife, Saioa, and their 3-year-old son, per the report. The five-week tournament kicks off this week and LAFC's first game is slated for July 13.
MLS players are allowed to opt out of the tournament for health or family reasons. Family and friends are not allowed to stay inside the league's bubble at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando.
There's a growing concern among players and front-office staff around the league over just how safe the environment will be, despite the league's protective measures. Last week, six FC Dallas players were confirmed to have tested positive, with the total now reportedly now at nine.
Not having Vela moves LAFC from favorite to second-tier contender. Vela has 57 goals in 72 matches for LAFC.Diego Rossi will now likely slot in at the No. 9 position for LAFC. Not having the league MVP is an obvious blow, though LAFC still has enough quality to make a deep run.
This tournament's matches count towards the MLS regular season standings, and the winner clinches a CONCACAF Champions League berth.
For the entire tournament schedule, click here.