The Mexican forward, per MLSsoccer.com’s Tom Bogert, is due to extend his contract through “at least” the 2023 season and remain a Designated Player for the Black & Gold.
Vela’s current deal is set to expire on June 30, producing speculation that LAFC’s captain and first-ever signing would depart over the summer.
“Like I always say, I’m really happy here,” Vela said. “I love to play in LA, I love to play in this stadium with these fans. If it’s in my hands, for sure I will be here. I will help this club to win a trophy. For my part, I’m doing my stuff. We will see how we end. But I think we’re a little bit better.”
Vela was plagued by injuries the past two seasons but seems to have turned a page in 2022 under new manager Steve Cherundolo. The 33-year-old Mexican is their leading scorer with five goals and three assists in 12 games, underscoring his importance to the group.
Unsurprisingly, there’s mutual interest to keep Vela at LAFC.
“It’s football, it’s sports. Until you don’t sign, you don’t have nothing for sure,” Vela said. “But we are working, the club and myself, both sides we are doing some effort to make this work. But in the end, I think when both parties want to be together [it] can be a good end.”
Vela’s comments came on a night where a penalty-kick tally gave him 100 combined goals and assists in 98 regular-season games. He’s the third-fastest player in MLS history to reach that mark, trailing just former LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane (96 games) and Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco (95 games).
The 2019 Landon Donovan MLS MVP is just focused on bringing an MLS Cup to LAFC, though, having already won a Supporters’ Shield during his record-breaking year. He also helped steer the club to the 2020 Concacaf Champions League final.
“Honeslty, I don’t think on that,” Vela said. “In my head it’s only one goal, is to win the MLS. Personal records [are] good or fun. You feel good about yourself, but in the end if you finish your career and you never win a trophy you feel that you missed something.
“Now my focus in my head is only win the MLS. It doesn’t matter if I make some record or not, if I score 100 goals or two goals. The important thing is [making] the right things for the group, for the teammates, for the club. If I make my part, the rest of the team will come."
Vela’s also focused on getting LAFC out of their two-game losing streak, with this latest result seeing Austin leapfrog them for the top spot in the Supporters’ Shield race. They return to action Saturday when visiting the Columbus Crew (3:30 pm ET | UniMas, TUDN, Twitter).
“After two losses it’s a good chance to show the character and the personality of the team to get out of this situation and get back in a win and in the top of the table,” Vela said. “This is where we want to be. It’s a good time for the players to show how good we are as a team. We’ll work hard to get out of this situation.”