Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela admitted that he was “really close” to joining Barcelona this past winter, confirming that the Spanish giants did indeed reach out regarding a loan deal.After scoring 14 goals while providing 13 assists in his debut season for LAFC, Vela was the subject of interest from Barca, who spent the winter looking to sign a new attacker.The Mexican was listed among the rumoured targets, but a move never came to fruition as Barcelona settled for Kevin-Prince Boateng instead. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Boateng went on to make just four total appearances for Barca, while Vela spent the winter offseason preparing for his second season in MLS.But Vela admitted that was almost not the case as, if it were up to him, he would have joined up with Barcelona for that period.”It was really close,” Vela said on BS The Podcast. “My second month for holidays, I was there with my piña colada and my agent called me to say ‘look, Barcelona is calling you. They want you to play for four months then you can go back to LA’. “I said just say yes, I don’t care about the money or nothing. I’m going to start training tomorrow, give me two weeks to be a little bit fit. “Barcelona, Real Madrid you can’t say no. … If it was only my choice, for sure, I’d take it.” Vela has continued to dominate MLS this campaign, as he edges closer and closer to the league’s single-season goal record. The Mexican forward has already scored 27 goals while providing 15 assists this season as he pursues Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez’s single-season mark of 31 goals. Meanwhile, LAFC sits atop the Western Conference, having already clinched a spot in the playoffs. The 30-year-old forward, fresh off a goal in 3-3 draw with the rival LA Galaxy, says he would like to spend the rest of his career in Los Angeles as he has found a club where he feels at home. “It’s not only the things I want, football is a business and you know how it works. But, if I have everything, I want to be here for the rest of my career,” he said. “I’m really happy here, playing in LA. I want to be here.” Next up for LAFC is a match against Minnesota United on Sunday, although Vela’s status remains up in the air due to a hamstring injury.
OSU junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan (5) encourages Buckeyes fans to make noise during the second half against Indiana on Oct. 8. The Buckeyes won 38-17. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorMomentum is a vital part of success for every team in every sport. A single shift in the intangible force can dictate the outlook of any athletic contest, and the Ohio State football team has depended on momentum to pull out in front of the opposition and stay there for much of this season.Against Tulsa, the Buckeyes were searching for their footing against a nonconference opponent that should have been a cakewalk for a team ranked inside the top 10. Finding themselves up by only three points, OSU was searching for something to shift into another gear.Sure enough, redshirt sophomore safety Malik Hooker jumped in front of a pass from Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans. Hooker returned the interception for a touchdown, and OSU rolled from then on.Against Oklahoma, after scoring on an early fourth-down conversion attempt, OSU was being pushed back by the Sooner offense. As Baker Mayfield lined-up to lead his team in its own fourth-down attempt, sophomore linebacker Jerome Baker stepped up for the Buckeyes.After Baker returned a 68-yard interception for a touchdown, Oklahoma fired right back with a kickoff return for a touchdown. After regrouping, OSU marched down the field for 89 yards and a rushing touchdown.For the rest of the game, the momentum was on the side of OSU.Even last Saturday, when Indiana was knocking on the door, the Buckeyes rode the high of a big play. This time, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Parris Campbell was the man to push OSU forward.Redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett knew how vital the play was for the rest of the game.“It was a momentum swing,” Barrett said after the game.A 91-yard kickoff return by the Akron, Ohio, native set OSU up for an easy score. The Buckeyes had to go less than 10 yards for a touchdown.Campbell has been making big plays all season on special teams, and had his first breakaway return this year against the Hoosiers. He, too, felt it was the turning point of the game.“Going out onto the field, KOR, I definitely felt like we needed the momentum back,” Campbell said. “Before every kickoff, I go out there and I say a little prayer: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ I knew we need momentum … so I had to step up.”Big plays and feeding off back-to-back scores have been vital to the success of OSU. Last year, especially against Michigan State, the team struggled to string together plays to keep momentum on its side.This year, the Buckeyes are a different unit. The team is feeding off the key plays of other units, and keeps up the pressure when there’s an opening. In every game this year, OSU has scored a touchdown in the final two minutes of the half.For OSU coach Urban Meyer, momentum shifts can lift a team up and keep them rolling.“(Campbell’s return) was a huge play in the game,” Meyer said. “Anytime you take a sense of momentum into the locker room, that creates a little more positive energy as you come out the second half.”Without some of the plays that have put games firmly in the grasp of the Buckeyes, the season could be very different for OSU.With seven more conference games ahead for OSU, No. 8 Wisconsin up next, momentum will once again be key if the team hopes to keep a perfect record.