Carlos Vela is out of contract with Los Angeles FC on June 30, but coach Steve Cherundolo is hopeful the former Arsenal forward’s situation will soon be resolved.
Vela, 33, has been a star since he signed for LAFC, but his deal is set to expire in just over two months and no extension has yet been signed.
While Cherundolo will not be involved in any detailed talks over a new deal, he is confident that everything will be resolved soon, while he also has no doubts over Vela’s commitment.
“The only time I would speak to a player about a contractual situation would be if it’s affecting his performance,” said Cherundolo ahead of Sunday’s clash with Sporting Kansas City.
“I do not engage in those talks, and I don’t have to with Carlos. He’s at a place in his career where he can manage that and the club and Carlos have a great relationship, as I do with him.
“So that will be figured out in due time, when both parties are ready to come to a decision. In the meantime, he’s a player like everybody else and the coach-player relationship remains the same. It’s just a part of the business.”
LAFC lost last time out but have made a strong start to 2022 and sit top of the Western Conference with 13 points. Kansas City, meanwhile, have only collected six points from their seven games.
LAFC midfielder Ilie Sanchez will be going up against his former club, having spent five seasons with Sporting, though Peter Vermes had nothing but praise for his old player.
“Ilie was a great person and player for this club, I can’t say anything but great things about him,” he said. “I hope it all goes well for him, I’ll be happy to see him. I really wish the best for that guy.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
LAFC – Carlos Vela
Kansas City have kept Vela in check in the six matches in which the striker has played against them, holding him to just two goals and one assist in 425 minutes.
Sporting Kansas City – Johnny Russell
Johnny Russell is Kansas City’s standout attacker but has struggled so far this season, scoring just once. Vermes needs to find a way to get him firing again.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– None of the seven meetings between Sporting and LAFC have ended in a draw (SKC 4 wins, LAFC 3 wins). Sporting won both contests in 2018 while LAFC swept both in 2019. They sides didn’t play in 2020 before Sporting won two of three (L1) last year.
– Despite the loss to the LA Galaxy on Saturday, LAFC enter the weekend atop the West on 13 points. This is the third time in the club’s five MLS seasons that they’ve had at least 12 points from their first six games.
– Going back to a three-game losing streak to end the 2021 regular season, Sporting have lost nine of their last 12 games, including playoffs (W3). They had lost just nine of their previous 41 matches dating back to October 2020 (W23 D9).
– Vela’s 0.63 goal contributions per 90 minutes against Sporting is the lowest he’s recorded against any team he’s played at least three times in his MLS career.
– Sporting’s biggest issues have come in attack where they’ve scored only five goals, having only scored fewer at this stage once (two in 1999). Kansas City has the league’s lowest conversion rate (5.6 percent).