Advantage LAFC! MLS Cup rematch ends in wild draw at Philadelphia Union

LAFC-Philly CCL Leg 1 recap

LAFC and the Philadelphia Union completed another memorable chapter in their budding rivalry Wednesday evening at Subaru Park, settling for a frantic 1-1 draw in the first leg of their 2023 Concacaf Champions League semifinal series.

LAFC midfielder Kellyn Acosta played both the hero and the villain for the visitors, who have an all-important away goal heading into their leg-two matchup Tuesday at BMO Stadium – the site of an epic MLS Cup 2022 final that went the Black & Gold’s way on penalty kicks.

Philadelphia thought they were golden in the 86th minute, as Dániel Gazdag sent LAFC goalkeeper John McCarthy the wrong way after Video Review awarded the hosts a penalty kick. Upon a closer check, it was determined that Acosta used his hand to block Jack McGlynn’s shot.

Acosta could have wallowed in self-pity, but instead found a dramatic late equalizer in the 91st minute. The US men’s national team midfielder acrobatically volleyed home a deflected cross from the right flank, beating Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.

Both sides had grade-A chances to score before the late flurry, which ensured a fifth straight draw between some of the best MLS has to offer.


  • 86' - PHI - Dániel Gazdag (PK) | WATCH
  • 90+1' - LAFC - Kellyn Acosta | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: LAFC, looking to reach their second CCL final in four years, are in the driver’s seat after Kellyn Acosta’s highs and lows. But this series is only at halftime, and a Philadelphia goal at BMO Stadium next week would tilt the outlook. That’s how thin the margins are in games of this magnitude, and doubly so when these recent Eastern Conference and Western Conference leaders clash. These clubs bring out the best of each other, and now a CCL final spot is on the line against either Tigres UANL or Club León of Liga MX.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Kellyn Acosta's 91st-minute goal changed the complexion of this series entirely, giving LAFC a coveted away goal. The strike involved a fantastic bit of instinctive skill, lashing out at Timothy Tillman’s cross that Dénis Bouanga brushed along.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: LAFC goalkeeper John McCarthy had four big saves, helping keep the series on manageable terms. It’s another big-time performance from the Philadelphia-area native, who came up clutch in penalty kicks (as a late substitute) in MLS Cup last year vs. the Union.

Next Up

  • PHI: Tuesday, May 2 at LAFC | 10 pm ET (FS1, TUDN) | CCL semifinal 2nd leg
  • LAFC: Tuesday, May 2 vs. Philadelphia Union | 10 pm ET (FS1, TUDN) | CCL semifinal 2nd leg