Carlos Vela made his 100th MLS regular-season appearance Saturday, subbing on for the second half in LAFC's 1-1 draw against Seattle Sounders FC at Lumen Field.
But will the Black & Gold's captain make it past 102 appearances?
There are two games left on Vela’s current contract, which expires at the end of the month: June 26 vs. New York Red Bulls and June 29 vs. FC Dallas, both at Banc of California Stadium.
After Saturday's match, Vela reiterated what we’ve heard from him before – how he’s happy to play for LAFC, to be in Los Angeles and that he feels there's some unfinished business.
But the clock is ticking and no deal has officially been stuck as yet, all amid reports of an extension being agreed upon. Vela even entertained a possible exit from LAFC as he confirmed an unchanged contract situation.
“I think we created a really good team, we are doing pretty well," Vela said. "I feel good to be here. I enjoy to play in LA with our fans. And of course I have that thing in mind, to win a trophy with this club. So my head is always focused on that.
"But in the end, this is business," Vela continued. "We are working on that, but I'm open to be here. But if it's not working, and this thing [does] not happen, I'm also open to leave and find another place. Football is like that. Life is like that. It’s nothing to complain, just see if in the end if we can make the deal or not.”
The 33-year-old Mexican forward was LAFC's first signing ahead of their expansion season and has scored 63 goals and provided 38 assists in those 100 regular-season appearances. That includes an MLS-record 34 goals in 2019 to garner Golden Boot presented by Audi and Landon Donovan MLS MVP honors during a Supporters' Shield-winning campaign.
Vela has been plagued by injuries the last couple of years, but has appeared to rebound under new LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo with six goals and three assists in 14 appearances this season.
Cherundolo brought Vela on at Seattle as he recovers from a quad injury he suffered in a US Open Cup loss to the LA Galaxy before the June international break. And how far off is a deal, according to Cherundolo?
“Contractual stuff, no news yet,” the former US men's national team defender said. “But I’m sure we’ll hear soon as time runs out.”
Vela on Chiellini
Should Vela sign a new contract or an extension, he’s eager to play alongside Juventus and Italy legend Giorgio Chiellini, who officially joined LAFC on Monday.
The 37-year-old center back is signed through 2023 on a contract using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), giving LAFC a veteran presence along the backline in their pursuit of MLS Cup.
“I think it's a great signing for the club," Vela said of Chiellini. "I think he will bring a lot of experience. He's still in a good level playing in one of the best leagues in the world, so I think he can be really positive for the group, for the club, for the fans.
"We're waiting for him and I hope he can bring a really, really good thing for us and I hope he can be the piece like we need to make that jump and finally get the trophy for this club.”