LAFC forward Carlos Vela is out of the MLS is Back Tournament after opting against flying with his teammates to Orlando, Florida, a league source with the knowledge of the situation confirmed to ESPN.
The news was first reported by the Los Angeles Times’ Kevin Baxter.
Reigning MLS MVP Vela, whose wife is pregnant, had long been unlikely to participate in the tournament, as ESPN reported earlier this month.
The league’s setup on the grounds of the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando prohibits family and friends from staying inside the bubble meant to protect teams amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The absence of former Mexico international Vela, 31, is a significant blow for LAFC. He has scored 57 goals in 72 league, playoff and cup appearances.
However, the Black and Gold would still be among the tournament favorites. LAFC is the reigning holder of the Supporters’ Shield, emblematic of the best regular-season record, and the team returned the bulk of its players this season.
LAFC is scheduled to travel to Orlando on Monday afternoon ahead of its first game July 13 against Houston Dynamo.