One of Week 2’s marquee matches will likely be missing some star power, as LAFC and the Seattle Sounders both carry injury doubts heading into their Saturday meeting at Banc of California Stadium (6 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes).
Speaking with media members on Thursday, LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said that forward Carlos Vela hasn’t been in full training this week and winger Diego Rossi isn’t “quite yet 100 percent.” Last weekend, Vela exited their 2-0 win over Austin FC in the first half, a byproduct of substitution signal confusion. Rossi didn’t feature in any capacity..
Should neither the 2019 Landon Donovan MLS MVP (Vela) or 2020 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi winner (Rossi) be good to go, LAFC will rely upon depth up top. The front three could feasibly include Corey Baird, Danny Musovski and Kwadwo Opoku.
“The play with Carlos, it's early in a game and he's just reaching and stretching out for a ball,” Bradley said. “It's not an injury that comes because late in the game he's pushing it and there's some fatigue. We're a little bit frustrated that we've taken some of these injuries in those ways. It's not ideal, but, again, we've got to have others ready when the moments come.”
As for Seattle, head coach Brian Schmetzer was upfront in saying that star midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro likely won’t make the trip to southern California. Lodeiro, part of the 2020 MLS Best XI, didn’t feature in last weekend’s 4-0 win over Minnesota United FC while nursing a preseason knock. Of course, Seattle are also without winger Jordan Morris as he recovers from a torn ACL.
"Yeah he's running around the field, but I'll be candid like Bob and say he's probably not going to make it on the charter tomorrow," Schmetzer said of Lodeiro.
Even with key players likely out, Seattle and LAFC are both eager to earn three points from this Western Conference rivalry match. Both teams have enjoyed tremendous success over the years, with Seattle winning MLS Cup in 2016 and 2019 while LAFC earned the 2019 Supporters’ Shield.
“They have talented players, so we’ll prepare for [Rossi and Vela] as if those players are going to play and if they don't, well, then we’ll just adjust if we need to and make further adjustments at halftime based on what we see,” Schmetzer said.