How to watch and stream
- English: FS1
- Spanish: TUDN
- Wednesday, May 31 | 10 pm ET/7 pm PT
- Estadio León | León, Mexico
The second leg is set for Sunday night at BMO Stadium, concluding 180 minutes that will determine which club gets regional bragging rights, prize money and spots in two upcoming FIFA Club World Cup tournaments (2023 and 2025).
Club León and LAFC crossed paths in the 2020 CCL Round of 16, with the latter winning 3-2 on aggregate behind a second-leg comeback that helped spark a trip to that year’s final before eventually falling to Tigres UANL.
Three years later, the Liga MX vs. MLS framework has only intensified as LAFC look to follow up on Seattle Sounders FC’s historic CCL conquest from the 2022 campaign (first-ever MLS champion).
Yet those south of the border, especially before the 2023 Leagues Cup arrives in July and August, will be quick to remind their northern neighbors a Mexican club procured every top-end Concacaf crown from 2006-21.
- Round of 16: 3-0 aggregate vs. Tauro FC (Panama)
- Quarterfinal: 6-2 aggregate vs. AC Violette (Haiti)
- Semifinal: 4-3 aggregate vs. Tigres UANL (Mexico)
Club León, after finishing sixth in the Liga MX Clausura campaign, haven’t played an official match since a May 7 defeat (3-1) to Atlético San Luis in the Liguilla’s early stages. Depending on your viewpoint, that could be a hindrance (form, sharpness) or an advantage (health, rest) as this historic club enters their first-ever CCL final.
Head coach Nicolás Larcamón’s squad booked this spot via a 3-1 second-leg win over Tigres UANL in the semifinals nearly a month ago, an inspired performance after getting a crucial away goal in the first leg. They originally qualified for this year’s CCL as Apertura 2021 champions.
Club León can hurt teams in numerous ways – Chilean international striker Víctor Dávila, Costa Rican international winger Joel Campbell and Ecuadorian international winger Ángel Mena are all game-changers in the final third. And if opponents threaten, Mexican international goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota and Colombian center back Stiven Barreiro are expected to put out fires.
- Round of 16: 4-2 aggregate vs. Alajuelense (Costa Rica)
- Quarterfinal: 6-0 aggregate vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS)
- Semifinal: 4-1 aggregate vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS)
LAFC, while reaching their second CCL final in four years, have been carried by Dénis Bouanga’s Landon Donovan MLS MVP-esque form. The Gabon international has six goals and four assists in six CCL games, admirably complementing forward Carlos Vela, his fellow Designated Player, in Steve Cherundolo’s dynamic 4-3-3 system.
Black & Gold fans will keep a watchful eye on the club’s center-back situation, as Aaron Long, Jesús Murillo and Giorgio Chiellini have all missed time as of late. US international midfielder Kellyn Acosta has also been out injured, so the club’s depth will likely be leaned upon while hoping to preserve favorable terms after Leg 1.
One potential key factor: LAFC are yet to lose (2W-0L-1D, +6 goal differential) in three prior CCL road trips this year. That’ll give them confidence a positive result in Mexico is within reach, as will MLS’s growing success when venturing to locales that historically ended in slow, painful heartbreak.
If LAFC ultimately raise the 2023 CCL title, conversations will start about their place among MLS’s best-ever teams after completing a domestic double (MLS Cup/Supporters’ Shield) last fall. Cherundolo won’t entertain those thoughts yet, though, knowing the job's far from done.