Los Angeles FC is not scheduled to begin playing in MLS until the 2018 season. Even with nearly two years till they take the pitch in MLS action, the club has been busy laying the foundation for what they expect to be a successful club.
Being in the same location as MLS juggernaut LA Galaxy puts a little more pressure on LAFC to hit the ground running. While the club has been working hard on developing their academy, player selection for the first couple of seasons will be key for establishing a culture of success to build upon.
With an impressive list of names who are invested in the club (Magic Johnson, Will Ferrell, Nomar Garciaparra and Mia Hamm), expect LAFC to look at making a big splash when they enter the league. The capture of a big name or two should be expected to kick off the new club’s start.
Two years is not very long in the scheme of putting together a franchise. The short list of players to pursue has most certainly been started and may be worked on sooner than most would expect.
An argument can be made for several players on who to pursue as the face of the franchise. If LAFC wants to truly excite its fanbase, then a choice like Mexican international Carlos Vela makes a lot of sense.
Despite occasionally popping up into the MLS transfer rumors, Vela will be no easy capture. The exciting attacker has been a mainstay at Real Sociedad since his move from Premier League giants Arsenal.
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Vela has excellent vision and can be deployed across the board as an attacker. He can line up as a striker on the wing, or slot in behind a lone forward due to his abilities. He provides smart movement creating problems for defenses. His ability to take a crack at goal from long range is another advantage.
Vela is not a player who is going to light up a score sheet with goals, but he is a smart player who has the technique and skill to help create opportunities. He is a player who can be the key component to orchestrating an attack.
At 27 years old, he still has several effective years ahead of him. If LAFC can acquire him for their inaugural season, he will have just turned 29. At that age he could easily be a force for 4-5 years as the franchise plants its roots.
Carlos Vela brings name recognition in not only the Southern California area, but for even casual soccer fans. He could be a great ambassador for the club in making an instant connection with the Los Angeles community.
If Vela is to be a charter member of LAFC, it will cost a pretty good amount. With the upside on and off the pitch of his presence, it will be worth the outlay by an ownership group that has the funds to make it happen.