CCL Best XI: Bouanga, Vela highlight 5 LAFC players named

CCL Best XI 6.6.23

LAFC fell short of their ultimate goal in the 2023 Concacaf Champions League, but still impressed throughout the confederation’s marquee club tournament – placing five players on this year’s Best XI.

The Black & Gold’s representatives are forwards Dénis Bouanga and Carlos Vela, left back Diego Palacios, center back Aaron Long and goalkeeper John McCarthy.

They’re joined by five Club León players, a group that defeated them 3-1 on aggregate in last week’s two-legged final. One Tigres UANL player is also present, making it six total from Liga MX and five total from MLS.

  • F: Víctor Dávila (Club León), Carlos Vela (LAFC), Dénis Bouanga (LAFC)
  • M: Elías Hernández (Club León), Luis Quiñones (Tigres UANL), Fidel Ambríz (Club León)
  • D: Diego Palacios (LAFC), Adonis Frías (Club León), Aaron Long (LAFC), Iván Moreno (Club León)
  • GK: John McCarthy (LAFC)

Bouanga, with seven goals and four assists in eight CCL games, finished as the competition’s Golden Boot winner. The Gabon international scored LAFC's lone goal in the final, tallying late in a 2-1 Leg 1 defeat at Club León.

With three goals and two assists in eight games, Vela helped LAFC reach their second CCL final in four years (also fell in 2020 to Tigres).

Palacios recorded 16 steals and 10 clearances, while completing almost 84% of his passes – all as LAFC advanced past Alajuelense (Costa Rica), Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS) and Philadelphia Union (MLS) before coming up just short against Club León (Liga MX).

Long, a US international center back, grew into the tournament after signing in free agency this winter. The ex-New York Red Bulls captain completed nearly 95% of his passes and notched 16 steals and 13 clearances.

McCarthy won the CCL Best Goalkeeper Award after conceding just six goals during the tournament in eight games. He also recorded four clean sheets and made 33 saves.

LAFC in 2023 CCL

  • Round of 16: 4-2 aggregate win vs. Alajuelense (Costa Rica)
  • Quarterfinal: 6-0 aggregate win vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS)
  • Semifinal: 4-1 aggregate win vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS)
  • Final: 3-1 aggregate loss vs. Club León (Liga MX)