(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: The Scotiabank Concacaf CHAPMPIONS League/Leg 2/Quarterfinal match took place as scheduled on 4/11 at BMO Stadium. Contrary to a regular MLS/LAFC Home Match, there were absolutely no festivities prior to kick-off. The only recognizable gesture was the entry “walk-on” to the pitch with players and their youthful escorts. After that, it was “Lights, Cameras, Action!” And so, the match went directly to the kick-off.
[PREVIEW]: This encounter was a rematch of the 1st Leg match played on 4/5 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada which LAFC won by the score of (3-0). It was expected that this match would end in favor of the Black & Gold due to the tremendous start they have had to begin the MLS season and up ahead of Vancouver was the man wearing #99/Dénis Bouanga, who in their previous match was credited with scoring a pair of goals.
[1st HALF]: The match proceeded to an even start with equally measured movements, but only for the first (8:00) minutes of the match. Then, Captain, #10/Carlos Vela, at that same minute mark took a Penalty Kick from the standard mark in front of the net after #99/Dénis Bouanga was fouled in the Box. Vela, as is his custom, took a few stutter steps, paused for another second, and then delivered a smashing elevated left kick for the first score of the match.
[Photo Gallery Credit]: Los Angeles Football Club
To watch the match highlights, click here.
Subsequently, at minute (31:00) El Capitán took a great lead pass in the midfield area, got open enough to set himself for a timely placed shot on goal that dribbled to the far left of the post, just outside of the arms of the fully stretched-out goalkeeper #1/Thomas Hasal. This made the score (2-0) and it was much to the loud and thunderous approval of the crowd.
Scoring sensation, Forward/#99/Dénis Bouanga was very quiet on this night, but busy on defense and patient on offense. He had two tries that were both very close to becoming goals, but give him a solid “A” for effort nonetheless. That second goal by Vela would end the scoring action for the first half.
[HALF-TIME SCORE]: LAFC 2 Vancouver FC 0
[2nd HALF]: It was much even-steven until #20/José Cifuentes, completed a fantastic right-to-left feint and centered the ball back to himself, then took good aim and blasted it in from the left side of the big box at minute marker (65:00). The lead was now increased to (3-0) and certainly this was the goal that pushed it beyond the hopes and prayers of Vancouver for making a comeback of any type. To borrow a closing descriptor from the sport of tennis….it was “game, set, and match” to —LAFC.
Coach Cherundulo then obliged himself and his players with substitutions for those in need of accumulating valuable playing time as the season continues to roll on. Key in this group of changes was #18/Eric Dueñas who is a most promising prospect from the LAFC Academy. Then, at minute (77:00), Bouanga was taken out for #17/Daniel Crisostomo.
Much to the crowd of 19,868 enjoyment, they were successful in completing “The Wave” for a few minutes late in the match, as the clock was making its ascent to the (90:00) minute mark. More crowd roars and applause erupted at the (83:00) minute mark when a male fan ran onto the pitch and at midfield was tackled by a group four security agents. Play was halted for 2-3 minutes and then resumed to the match’s completion.
[FULL-TIME SCORE]: LAFC 3 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0
[CONCACAF NOTE]: LAFC advances to the semi-finals of the Scotiabank Concacaf CHAMPIONS League by the aggregate score of (6-0).
[OF SIGNIFICANCE]: A scoring burst by Captain Carlos Vela with 2, and José Cifuentes with a solo goal.
[MAN-OF-THE-MATCH]: Carlos Vela
[NEXT UP]: L.A. Galaxy, Sunday, April 16th @ Dignity Health Sports Park