(East Los Angeles, CA) December 24, 2020 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The closing curtain of a very long, but productive COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic season, finally came to pass for LAFC in the Final match of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League Tournament, on Tuesday, December 22nd. Gigantic Kudos to LAFC for their outstanding performances in both the MLS Is Back Tournament and now, the recently concluded CONCACAF Champions League Tournament. More will be expected in 2021. We will bring you all of the Club’s changes that occur during the off-season.
A quick look back at the 2020 season, and if it were not for the Club specific, early, devastating injury to Carlos Vela, the late season injury to Mark-Anthony Kaye, the positive COVID-19 testing of four front-line players, their absences due to their National Teams’ contract obligations, and lastly, the unexpected disqualification of Eduard Atuesta in the CONCACAF Champions League Final match, it could have been another super-sensational season, in just the 3rd year of LAFC’s existence.
(Match Summary): After a deadlocked (0-0) tie for the first 45 minutes, the match against their fourth Liga MX opponent in a row, los Tigres UANL, Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, was beginning to favor the Black & Gold, when at the 61st minute, Diego Rossi, lifted a one-bouncer and beautifully placed rainbow “chip-shot” over the mesmerized goalkeeper, Nahuel Guzmán for the first goal the match. The scoreboard now read, LAFC 1, Tigres 0. To see the match highlights, click here.
However, the persistence of the Tigres remained resolute as they came roaring back at the 75th minute on an attack that produced an exquisite corner kick “header” by Hugo Ayala. It couldn’t have come at a better time. This equalizer seemed to shoot some extra adrenaline into their veins and they continued to press onward, perhaps feeling that they were facing a team that had dropped their guard at a critical time in the match. Now, the match moved into the final 20 minute phase. As most soccer fans know, in a tied match of this type, this is the phase that usually unveils the potential winner. Therefore, both teams must play turnover or mistake-free at all costs. Whoever commits the one, whether it be forced or self-inflicted, could spell the difference between a win or a loss.
(Photo Gallery): Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League @TheChampions; Major League Soccer @MLS; LAFC @LAFC; Club Tigres Oficial @TigresOficial
The Tigres second and final goal, came at the 84th minute on a tremendous, and at the same time, a classic “give-and-go” pass from wingman, Luís Rodríguez playing on his right flank to the Man of the Match, Andre-Pierre Gignac who was perfectly, and timely positioned uncovered at the top of the box. He then took direct aim at the net and fired a missile towards it. LAFC goal keeper, Kenneth Vermeer may not have seen the set-up by Rodriguez to Gignac, but when he did, it was a second too late as Vermeer could only see the ball flash by him and into the netting. The scouting book on Gignac is well-known, because he can always punish you even when he hasn’t played at a high level during a match. The “go-ahead” score moved the board to (2-1), Tigres. In stoppage time, LAFC had some time to re-gather and launch a final assault, but the Tigres, now fully confident of their victory, successfully fended off the Black & Gold and emerged with the 2020 SCCL Championship. They are now qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup Championship Tournament scheduled for Doha, Qatar starting on February 1, 2021.