The Champions League Dream Lives On

LAFC overrun Club Leon 3-0 to advance to the quarterfinals

Carlos+Vela+netted+his+43rd+goal+In+his+last+42+official+matches.+

Jesus Manriquez

Carlos Vela netted his 43rd goal In his last 42 official matches.

Los Angeles Football Club’s first CONCACAF Champions League run is far from over after defeating Club Leon 3-0 at Banc of California Stadium,Thursday, February 27. The Black and Gold overturned the aggregate goal count against one of Mexico’s best, after losing 2-0 in Mexico last week. LAFC will face off against another Liga MX giant, Cruz Azul, in the quarterfinals. 

A brace from forward Carlos Vela and a game winner by forward Diego Rossi, were enough to push LAFC to victory and keep their Champions League dreams alive. Vela set off the comeback in the 17th minute with a goal first post. Minutes before the opener, Vela saw his goal disallowed for an apparent offside during the team’s buildup. 

Club Leon saw their aggregate lead come to an end late in the second half, after Vela netted another first post goal and his second of the night. Banc of California Stadium erupted as the fans began to believe this tie was theirs to win. Just two minutes later, Rossi made the comeback complete with his deflected game winner. What seemed to be an attempt to cross the ball across the box, ended up being a perfectly placed shot over the goalkeeper, to the crossbar and into the net. Club Leon never knew how to respond back, LAFC’s constant pressure made it almost impossible for the Mexican team to find that away goal that would win the tie for them. 

LAFC back at its best

After the 2-0 loss in Guanajuato last week and the poor performance the squad showed, many doubted this team could make a comeback. So what changed? In the first leg, we saw a team that was still in pre-season, sloppy, tactically inferior and looked bad physically. Thursday, we saw the complete opposite. We saw a more fresh team, high pressing in the opponent’s third. Everytime LAFC would lose the ball, two to three guys on the opponent right away, trying to recover the ball as fast as possible. Not only did this team learn from the defeat from a week ago, but also from that loss against the Seattle Sounders back in October. This team showed character, fight, the hunger to win every 50-50 ball, matching the opponent’s physicality. 

LAFC’s ‘Twelfth Man’

Jesus Manriquez
LAFC sells out season tickets for third straight season.

We also can not forget the fans and the atmosphere they create. Those who have watched the UEFA Champions League know how passionate some of the atmospheres are over there. The ‘yellow wall’ in Dortmund or Andfield’s suffocating pressure. The atmosphere at Banc of California Stadium is no less. In every big comeback in soccer, there is always an ignited atmosphere. The peaceful but yet hostile atmosphere the black and gold fans create against the opponent is outstanding. LAFC went into this match winning 1-0 before the referee blew his whistle. When a club has fans like these, they become the 12th man on the field. That is why LAFC has one, if not the best atmosphere in LA sports. 

 

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •