LOS ANGELES – The first spot in the 2023 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Final belongs to Los Angeles FC after defeating the Philadelphia Union 3-0 in the second leg of the 2023 SCCL semifinals on Tuesday night at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, California.
With the victory, the LAFC claim a 4-1 triumph on aggregate and advance to their second ever SCCL Final and first since 2020.
LAFC went right to work on finding a goal and they were able to beat Union GK Andre Blake just 12 minutes into the game when Ilie Sanchez snapped a header goalward that was well saved by Blake, but Timothy Tillman pounced on the rebound and fired into net for a 1-0 LAFC lead.
Philadelphia were unfazed and started pegging the LAFC defense back in their own half. The best look at an equalizer in the first half came from Daniel Gazdag in the 36’ through an open shot that grazed the post.
The Union’s comeback task became a lot more difficult just shy of the hour mark when a second yellow card for Olivier Mbaizo resulted in a sending off, forcing Philadelphia to play the final half-hour with 10 men.
Philadelphia hung tough despite playing a man down and were still just a goal away from forcing a penalty shootout going into the final quarter-hour.
The tension rose as every minute ticked away, helped by Blake making a diving save on a hard hit from Sanchez in the 79’.
But there was nothing Blake could do to stop Kwadwo Opoku from putting the series on ice for LAFC in the 82’, as he gathered in a pass from Carlos Vela and hammered home a right-footed shot for a 2-0 lead.
2023 SCCL top scorer Denis Bouanga then added the exclamation point in the 90’ with a slick right-footed finish for his sixth goal of the tournament, wrapping up LAFC’s 3-0 victory.