LAFC beats Philadelphia Union to return to CONCACAF Champions League final


Photo Credit: Aaron Martinez

Denis Bouanga scores on Philadelphia last minute to lead his team to the CCL Final, where LAFC is set to face-off against a Liga MX team; Leon or Tigres.

The Los Angeles Football Club went up against Philadelphia Union in a heated match for the 2023 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Semi Finals on Tuesday night with a score of 3-0 at BMO Stadium.

First Half

At the end of the first half, LAFC lead 1-0 in the twelve minute of the game from the teamwork between Ilie Sanchez #6 and Timothy Tillman #11 as they started to dominate against Philadelphia. While the possession of the ball is equal, LAFC is looking dangerous going forward leaving Philadelphia’s defense in the dust. This is an amazing start from the black and gold as they started an early dominance of the ball in the first half. Philadelphia started to show some dominance but LAFC was not going to let that slide. Both teams made some mistakes that cost them two yellow cards each. The determination between both teams was unbelievable. However, LAFC is only leading by one goal and anything can happen in the next 45 minutes going into the second half. 

Second Half

During the second half, Philadelphia had to put up a fight against LAFC after Philadelphia’s defender Olivier Mbaizo #15 was ejected after drawing a second yellow card in the first half and now drawing a red card. Mahala Opoku #22 erased any hopes of a comeback in the eighty-second minute by scoring a goal with the assist of Carlos Vela #10. Denis Bounga #99 added a third goal for LAFC  with the help from Jose Cifuentes #20 that sealed the passage to the final for LAFC, which they will face the winner of Wednesday’s other semifinal between Liga MX sides Leon and Tigres. The final could be a chance for redemption for LAFC, in which they lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the 2020 edition by a final score of 2-1 to champions Tigres.

Post-Game Interviews

During the postgame, Philadelphia’s coach Jim Curtin had some congratulatory words for LAFC at the press conference. “I wish them the best in the final, it’s a very strong team, very strong opponent, and again good luck to them in the final.” “It’s probably the best team in our league’s history,” said Curtin, whose team has never defeated LAFC. “I definitely don’t agree,” answered Steve Cherundolo, who has won a Supporters’ Shield and an MLS Cup final and now advanced to a Champions League final.