Saturday, May 18, 2024

LAFC Hopeful for CONCACAF Champions League Trophy

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Though last weekend saw the Lakers fall out of the NBA West Finals in dramatic fashion, one Los Angeles team still cradles the city’s heart and hopes of letting a silver trophy this season.

On Sunday, Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) takes on Club León in the second leg of a tense CONCACAF Champions League Final.

It won’t be easy for the Angeleno side, as the first tie set them back 2-1 on aggregate—an emotional 96th-minute goal from Denis Bouanga kept them in the matchup.

Denis Bouanga is inevitable.

LAFC with a stoppage time goal. They trail Club Leon 2-1 after leg one of the CCL final. Huge moment. pic.twitter.com/C9QXeUN5lU

— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) June 1, 2023

“I think it was a long night for us. Nothing really went well, at all—quite the contrary,” LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo told Los Angeles. “It was for one of our poorest performances of the season and came up at the worst time possible.”

The first half of the game was grueling for LAFC, with León scoring early. The pressure didn’t let up, with the side conceding a penalty just before the halftime whistle blew.

Despite the poor performance, Cherundolo believes the team is completely up to the challenge.

“We’re just focusing on winning this game and we feel we can achieve that,” He said. “We have certainly increased the chances of raising the trophy.”

This wouldn’t be the first time LAFC had to stage a second-leg comeback against León. Back in 2020, the two teams once again met in the CONCACAF Champions League.

The first leg of the Round of 16 left LAFC two goals down to the Mexican side. However, a heroic display from Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi left León stunned, with the match ending 3-0 and LAFC progressing in the tournament.

Cherundolo says that though “it’s been done before,” the team still needs to play to their full potential.

“I don’t think this game will be satisfied by tactics or anything,” he noted. “It will be decided by the players.”

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