When Carlos Vela arrived in MLS, he arrived with a certain reputation. He was talented, yes. Unbelievably talented, in fact. He was recognized as one of the most dynamic exports Mexican soccer had ever seen, a true force on the field when on his game.
However, before he arrived in MLS, Vela was seen as a player who had largely wasted his potential. He'd bounced around Europe, showing flashes of his abilities in England and Spain. On the international level, he had his moments, too, although his time with the Mexican national team was best known for his refusal to play for them for several years.
On Saturday, Vela may play his last game in MLS, five years after his arrival. His LAFC contract is set to expire at the end of the season, which could call time on his career with the defending champions. And if this is the end, he'll leave with a new, much-improved reputation.
Once known for his lack of commitment, Vela will go down as a player who defined a club and an era. If this is the last dance, Vela will go down, undoubtedly, as one of the most dominant forces MLS has ever seen.