LAFC overcome valiant Alajuelense effort to reach next round
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LAFC overcome valiant Alajuelense effort to reach next round

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LOS ANGELES Los Angeles FC overcame a valiant effort from Alajuelense to reach the quarterfinals of the 2023 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League after a 2-1 loss to the Costa Ricans in the Round of 16 second leg on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

Despite the defeat, LAFC emerged winners on aggregate, 4-2, and will meet fellow MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps in the quarterfinal round.

After suffering a 3-0 defeat at home in the first leg, Alajuelense had no other choice but to attack from the onset and it paid off in spades, with former Los Angeles Galaxy man Giancarlo Gonzalez scoring against his old crosstown rivals via the penalty spot in the 8’ after a handball for a 1-0 Alajuelense lead.

LAFC did not even want to entertain the thought of an Alajuelense comeback and a nervy finale, so they went right to work on getting an equalizer.

The home side peppered Alajuelense GK Leonel Moreira with a slew of shots, the best being a right-footed effort from Stipe Biuk in the 44’ that provoked a reaction kick save from the Costa Rican shot-stopper.

Alajuelense withstood the response and then carved out a second goal for themselves in the 51’, with Aaron Suarez pouncing on a blocked shot and finishing into an open net to give the Ticos a 2-0 lead in the match, while cutting the LAFC aggregate advantage down to 3-2.


The Suarez goal returned the urgency to LAFC and Carlos Vela could only look on in dismay when he had two gilt-edged chances in two minutes denied by Moreira. There was also a wide-open chance for veteran Italian DF Giorgio Chiellini in the 77’ that ended over the crossbar.

Vela had been close to a goal all series long and it finally came for him in the 83’ when a ball deflected off an Alajuelense DF, allowing the Mexican FW to collect it and score to make it a 4-2 aggregate lead for LAFC.


Alajuelense never stopped battling and amassed two good scoring chances in stoppage time, but it was not enough, as the final whistle sounded to seal LAFC’s quarterfinal spot.