Los Angeles FC is making soccer headlines, and not just as the first-place team in Major League Soccer's Western Conference with the highest point total in the league.
The club announced Monday the signing of international star Gareth Bale to a one-year deal, with options until 2024. Bale is native of Wales who has been a top player for European giants Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur. Bale, 32, could debut for LAFC (10-3-3, 33 points) as soon as July 8, along with another big signing for the Los Angeles side, Giorgio Chiellini from Italy's storied Juventus club.
Until Bale and Chiellini settle in, LAFC will have to rely on the players it already has when FC Dallas comes to town for a clash on Wednesday night.
And the players already in LAFC uniforms are pretty good. Among them is Carlos Vela, who just extended his contract with the club through 2023. The former MLS MVP leads LAFC in scoring this season with six goals.
"Los Angeles is a special place for me and my family. This is our home, and I am excited to continue my career here at LAFC," Vela told the LAFC website. "My goal is to win the MLS Cup with LAFC, and I will work hard to achieve our goal."
FC Dallas (7-4-5, 26 points) also announced a player transaction on Tuesday, exercising a permanent transfer on goalkeeper Maarten Paes who was on a short-term loan from Dutch first division club FC Utrecht. Paes is signed through December 2025 with club options for the 2026 and 2027 seasons.
He has started in 14 MLS matches this season, with a 6-3-5 record. He's tallied four shutouts.
FC Dallas is 1-3-1 over its last five matches but is in fourth place in the West. It is coming off a 2-2 draw with Austin FC -- a game in which Dallas led 2-0 before surrendering a pair of goals.
After that tough match, FC Dallas defender Marco Farfan was looking ahead.
"We know it's another tough place to play. They're top of the table in the league," Farfan said of Los Angeles. "We need to learn how to manage these type of games; these are the type of games we need to win... We can't keep our spirits down and we have to go up against LAFC with confidence."
--Field Level Media