LAFC fans were holding their collective breath when reigning MLS MVP winner Carlos Vela limped off of the field with an apparent leg injury in the second half of his club's 2-0 El Trafico defeat to the LA Galaxy.
On Tuesday, head coach Bob Bradley gave an update on the prognosis of his star attacker, revealing that it was indeed a knee injury that forced Vela from the match.
"The news everyone is waiting for is Carlos, which we know: It's a Grade 2 MCL [sprain]. It's an injury that we see in football many times," Bradley said. "Now we just need to evaluate him week by week. Often times with an MCL, the player is able to start running straight ahead pretty quickly, but the timeframe is really determined as he gets into more cutting, striking the ball, as to how long it'll take. So we don't have an answer on that."
Bradley also updated the status of midfielder Eduard Atuesta, who is doing more work on the field, according to Bradley, but he has yet to rejoin regular training. That means LAFC will be without two of their most vital cogs for at least Wednesday's road matchup against Real Salt Lake (9:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US; DAZN in Canada), and possibly beyond.
It goes without saying that Vela's absence makes things tougher on the 2019 Supporters' Shield holders, but they do at least have some insurance in the form of veteran Bradley Wright-Phillips. The striker showed that he's still got it at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, netting four goals, and said on Tuesday that he's feeling 90 minutes fit after having to work his way back up to full speed at the tournament.
"I feel like I'm definitely stronger," Wright-Phillips said. "From Orlando, I thought that Bob was right [about his fitness], but I feel a lot better now. Feel a lot fitter.
"I think with the position I play on the field, [scoring] is always going to be a responsibility of mine," he continued. "It's not the mindframe I go out there with, there's tons of other jobs we have within the 90 minutes. I obviously want to score goals, but I think the most important for us is, I don't think we're a team that has to worry about scoring goals or nice attacking football, I think we've got to get the little things right. We've got to look for a good start, we've got to show intensity, show that we're bouncing back from a big loss. And I think that's what I try and bring if I'm playing."