LAFC Advances to the Next Round

With their win over Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, Los Angeles Football Club will continue in the Champions League.


Photo Credit: Aaron Martinez

LAFC advanced to the quarter finals of the CONCACAF Champions League with an aggregate of (4-2) after losing 1-2 against Alajuelense, Carlos Vela scored the lone goal for the home team today at the BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif.

Despite losing 2-1 to Liga Deportiva Alajuelense (LDA) on Wednesday, March 15 at BMO Stadium, Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) advanced to the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 8 as the aggregate score of the series between the clubs is 4-2. This game was the second leg of their round-of-16 matchup. LAFC dominated in the last game, defeating LDA 3-0. Kickoff was at 7:30 p.m. with a packed crowd of 19,672 attendees in Los Angeles.

First-Half Action

LAFC took control of the ball first and took no time in applying pressure. The Los Angeles club got close to the Alajuelan club’s box, but LDA’s defense took care of the threat. LDA took no time with their rebuttal, however. After review from the Video Assistance Referee (VAR), the referees awarded LDA a penalty kick and placed a yellow card on LAFC’s Giorgio Chiellini. He waS found to have committed a handball after review. Giancarlo Gonzalez of LDA took and converted the penalty at 9′.

LAFC tried their best to apply pressure after conceding a goal. Carlos Vela had a free kick at 14′ but didn’t convert. A couple of opportunities presented themselves once again at 21′. Vela didn’t convert on either opportunity. Kwadwo Opoku and Sergi Palencia both had opportunities to score but couldn’t manage to get the ball past Moreira. Although match referee Adonai Escobedo awarded four minutes of extra time, the highlight of the half for LAFC came at 44′. Kwadwo sent a pass to teammate Stipe Biuk whose shot was deflected by the toes of Moreira.

The Rest of the Game

At 51′ LDA started to make the game and series much more interesting. After a solo attack, Aaron Suarez found himself in a one-versus-one situation against John McCarthy of LAFC. Mccarthy put up a strong effort, deflecting the first shot of their duel. Suarez was in the right place at the right time as the rebound went over to him and him alone. Suarez scored the second Ajualense goal of the night, making the game score 2-0 and the aggregate score a much closer 3-2.

Just like much of the night so far LAFC found themselves in a prime attacking position but were unable to convert. At 57′ Vela found himself with an undefended heading opportunity. Moreira once again made an outstretched save to keep the Los Angeles club scoreless.

With momentum on their side, LDA tried to capitalize on this many times throughout the match. Notably, at 71′ Carlos Mora sent a cross from the right pitch to Suarez in the box. Much like how LAFC’s night was going at this point, Suarez was unable to beat the lone goalkeeper and missed the back of the net.

Much of the night looked bleak for the black and gold crew till 82′. Vela found himself in a prime position inside the box and capitalized giving us the first LAFC goal of the night. LDA still leads 2-1.

Six minutes of stoppage time were given, but no notable moves were made by either team. As the final whistle was heard around BMO Stadium, LAFC moved on to the next round of competition in this Champions League.

Post-Game Presser

With their victory tonight, LAFC will play next against a familiar team. Los Angeles is slated to play against MLS club Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Steve Cherundolo, head coach of LAFC, said, “Yeah, there is that unknown when you play a team you’ve never seen before or played against and that can go well, and that can go poorly too. The element of surprise is no longer there for us; both teams know each other very well. It should be a tight one over two legs so it’s a matchup where I know what’s expected of us and it’s a matchup where we think we could advance and I’m sure Vanni [Sartini] and his team are saying the same things.”

CONCACAF Competition

Today the CONCACAF Champions League had two elimination games before the matchup between LAFC and LDA. Canadian club Vancouver Whitecaps FC faced off against Real España of Honduras. The Whitecaps lost to Real España 3-2. Like LAFC the losing team advanced, as the Whitecaps led the aggregate score 7-3. American team Orlando City SC tied against Mexico’s Tigres UANL 1-1. Since the Tigres scored the lone goal in the first leg of the series they advance to the next round. As of publication date Violette AC, Atlas FC, and Philadelphia Union, all have advanced to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. Club León and Tauro FC face off at 5 p.m. (PST on Thursday, March 15. CF Pachuca and FC Motagua will play on the same day at 7:15 p.m. (PST).