CCL Preview: A first for LAFC's Carlos Vela

LAFC's Concacaf Champions League opener at Mexican club Leon on Tuesday will mark a first in Carlos Vela's career.

The Mexican star will play his first official club match on home soil in his 14-year career.

The Cancun-native grew up in the Guadalajara youth system but never played for the Chivas first team before signing with Arsenal after being spotted at the 2015 Under-17 World Cup, where Mexico won the championship.

Vela, the 2019 MLS MVP, will spearhead LAFC, which enters Concacaf play with a lot of question marks.

CCL Outlook. Walker Zimmerman, another of LAFC's Best XI picks in its record-setting run to the 2019 Supporters' Shield, was traded last week to Nashville SC, creating a big hole at center back. Veterans Jordan Harvey and Dejan Jakovic started at center back in preseason while Eddie Segura was on international duty with Colombia, host of the South American Olympic Men's Qualifying Tournament, and missed preseason.

In midfield, Eduard Atuesta (Colombia) and newcomers Francisco Ginella (Uruguay) and Jose Cifuentes (Ecuador) were also away at Olympic qualifying while Canadian Mark-Anthony Kaye has been sidelined with a hamstring injury.

The situation is the same up front, where Diego Rossi represented Uruguay in Olympic qualifying and Adama Diomande and Bradley Wright-Phillips, signed as a free agent from the New York Red Bulls, have been injured.

One of the surprises in midfield has been 18-year-old midfielder Bryce Duke, whose Homegrown Player rights LAFC acquired from Real Salt Lake.

LAFC Roster:
Goalkeepers (3): Phillip Ejimadu, Pablo Sisniega, Kenneth Vermeer.
Defenders (7): Tristan Blackmon, Mohamed El-Munir, Jordan Harvey, Dejan Jakovic, Diego Palacios, Eddie Segura, Danilo Silva.
Midfielders (7): Eduard Atuesta, Latif Blessing, Jose Cifuentes, Bryce Duke, Francisco Ginella, Alejandro Guido, Mark-Anthony Kaye.
Forwards (7): Adama Diomande, Danny Musovski, Adrien Perez, Brian Rodriguez, Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela, Bradley Wright-Phillips.

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