Newcomers make noise early in the MLS season

From FOX Sports - March 14, 2018

Carlos Vela has played around the worldmost recently for La Ligas Real Sociedad. But hes a newbie to Major League Soccer.

Just two games in, the 29-year-old star from Mexico is already having an impact for Los Angeles FC.

In the expansion teams season opener against the Seattle Sounders, fellow newcomer Diego Rossi scored in the 11th minute off a pass from Vela in a 1-0 victory.

Vela added another assistalong with his first MLS goallast Saturday in a 5-1 rout of Real Salt Lake.

It was very important to help the team in goals and assists and overall good play. I think thats why they brought me here and Im happy our debut has gone well, he said afterward.

Vela had played for Real Sociedad since 2011, scoring 72 goals in 230 appearances. Before that he was under contract with Arsenal.

Vela is one of the highest-profile newcomers to MLS this season. The league says that 100 players that werent previously in MLS or with affiliated clubs were signed by teams.

The average age of the new players is 24.98, for the youngest incoming class in league history. The average age of the 12 new designated players is 23.16.

That certainly puts to rest the old notion that MLS was a retirement league for players in the twilight of their careers.

Some of the other notable new faces in MLS this season.

DIEGO ROSSI, LAFC: Rossi, a 19-year-old forward from Uruguay, was LAFCs second designated player after Vela. He comes to the league after two seasons with Penarol, Uruguays top-tier team. He had 10 goals last season to help the team to the league title.

Rossi was named MLS Player of the Week after scoring two goals in the rout at RSL.

Hes a fantastic player, LAFC defender Steven Beitashour said. Theres a reason we brought him here. Hes young, energetic (and) when he gets in front of goal hes pretty clinical.

JOSUE COLMAN, ORLANDO CITY: The 19-year-old attacking midfielder is also from Uruguay, and Orlando hopes he can help replace retired Brazilian star Kaka. He last played for Cerro Porteno, helping the team to the Clausura title in 2017. He started in 28 games with one goal.

Colman missed much of the preseason with a quad contusion, but is expected to make his debut at the end of the month.

EZEQUIEL BARCO, ATLANTA UNITED: An 18-year-old midfielder, Barco was acquired for an MLS-record $15 million transfer fee from Independiente. Barco was with the Argentine club for two seasons, making 38 appearances with five goals.

Unfortunately for United, he too has been sidelined for four to six weeks by a right quadriceps strain he sustained during preseason training.


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