Hoping to see Mexican international Carlos Vela in San Antonio, Tex., next month? If you bought your ticket for El Tri’s March meeting with the United States expecting to see the Real Sociedad star, we may be the bearers of bad news.
Forced to leave Saturday’s game at the Santiago Bernabéu after only 17 minutes, the 25-year-old striker’s set for a six-week absence, with surgery scheduled to repair a torn meniscus.
“This is pretty damn terrible,” Real Sociedad’s statement would have said, if clubs talked to us like we were real people. Instead, the Basque version of a protocol droid spit out the standard fare about Vela’s unfortunate turn.
“During the match held in Madrid he suffered an injury to his right knee. After early tests, labs and an MRI, we have found evidence of a torn meniscus. After consulting with specialists to evaluate the best therapy options, we have decided on surgery.”
Thankfully, La Real boss David Moyes (allegedly not a protocol droid) gave a slightly more human response, one that doubled as a complaint about the transfer window.
“Carlos Vela is a super player, very important for us,” Moyes said after Saturday’s 4-1 loss. “We were disappointed not to make some purchases in the January window.”
One look at the numbers explains why. With seven goals in La Liga, Vela was La Real’s leading scorer. Next on the team’s goals chart? Four players tied with two. In the absence of the departed Antoine Griezmann, Vela is not only the team’s best threat, he’s its only one.
Beyond its depth chart, the biggest fear for La Real may come in the standings. Having improved since Moyes’ arrival, Sociedad has climbed from La Liga’s cellar to 13th place. But the team is only four points from the league’s relegation zone, and while it’s unlikely teams like Córdoba and Granada who’ve struggled all season will catch fire in the next six weeks, Vela’s injury could may still stymy any momentum Moyes built.
Prior to its trip to Madrid, La Real had only lost three of its previous 14 games. Without Vela, it’s unclear how it can replicate those results.