Los Angeles FC’s new star signing Gareth Bale eulogized about Carlos Vela’s impact at the club as he readies himself for an MLS debut.
LAFC signed Bale as a free agent after the Wales forward left Real Madrid at the end of his contract.
He has signed a one-year deal that can be extended, as he aims to sharpen up ahead of Wales’ World Cup campaign in Qatar later this year.
After a week of solid training, Bale is expected to be involved when LAFC – second in the Western Conference – take on Nashville on Sunday, and he is eager to work alongside fellow star forward Vela.
“What he’s done for this club since he’s been here is amazing, he is obviously a big player for this club. Just training with him this [was great],” Bale said of Vela.
“I’ve known him and played against him in the past and we got on very well, so I’m looking forward to lining up a partnership with him, hopefully win some games and win some trophies (together).”
Bale also had kind words to say of LAFC’s other big-name arrival, Giorgio Chiellini.
“I’ve played against Giorgio many times in Europe when he was with Juventus, and also when we’ve played the Italian national team,” Bale said. “He’s a great player, a great professional, a great ambassador for the game. He’s only going to help this team. I think he’s the same as me; he wants to give everything possible to try and win games and trophies.
I’m excited to play with him as well.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Nashville SC – Hany Mukhtar
Hany Mukhtar scored the lone goal in Nashville’s 1-0 win over the Sounders on Wednesday. It marked the fourth straight league game with a goal for Mukhtar, becoming the first player in club history to achieve that feat.
Los Angeles FC – Gareth Bale
It’ll be all eyes on Bale, whether he starts or has to settle for a place on the bench, on Sunday. The forward is undoubtedly one of the biggest names to arrive in MLS in recent seasons.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– This will be the first MLS meeting between the teams. Nashville are yet to beat a California team, recording two draws against the San Jose Earthquakes and losing its lone match with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
– Nashville ended a club-record four match home winless run (D3 L1) with a 1-0 win over the Sounders on Wednesday.
– Nashville has put together consecutive victories just once in their last 33 MLS matches (including playoffs), winning at Columbus and Sporting Kansas City in early April.
– While LAFC have been great at home this season, winning eight of 11 (D2 L1), including four straight, they have been less dominant on the road. They have won just one of their last four away from home (D1 L2) and is yet to win a match at a Western Conference opponent this season (D1 L3).
– Cristian Arango scored the winning goal for LAFC against the Galaxy on Friday, taking his total to five goals in his last six games. Each of his last three goals, including Friday night’s winner, have been assisted by Vela.