LAFC blow doors off Philadelphia Union to reach Concacaf Champions League final

CCL recap 5.3.23

LAFC have booked their second shot at a Concacaf Champions League title in four years, earning that opportunity with a resounding 3-0 rout over the Philadelphia Union in Tuesday night’s semifinal second-leg clash at BMO Stadium.

The Black & Gold, who won the series 4-1 on aggregate, will discover Wednesday evening if they’ll face Liga MX’s Tigres UANL or Club León in the 2023 final. The continent’s biggest club prize will be decided across two legs on May 31 and June 4.

The tone was set in the 13th minute when LAFC midfielder Timothy Tillman roofed a corner kick that Union goalkeeper Andre Blake initially made a jaw-dropping save on, parrying Ilie Sánchez’s header for a follow-up effort.

Philadelphia had strong looks at an equalizer, particularly through midfielder Dániel Gazdag, but the task became even more daunting in the 59th minute when right back Olivier Mbaizo was shown a second-yellow red card for clipping LAFC forward Dénis Bouanga in the open field.

The visitors' hopes were dashed in the 82nd minute when LAFC forward Kwadwo Opoku collected a through ball from Carlos Vela and established a 2-0 advantage with a powerful top-shelf shot past Blake. And they were crushed entirely in the 90th minute when Bouanga iced the scoreline, capping the Black & Gold's party.


  • 13' - LAFC - Timothy Tillman | WATCH
  • 82' - LAFC - Kwadwo Opoku | WATCH
  • 90' - LAFC - Dénis Bouanga | WATCH

Three Things

  • BIG PICTURE: The Black & Gold showed why they completed a double last fall and are MLS’s last remaining undefeated team in 2023, looking fully capable of adding continental silverware to their trophy cabinet. They'll now hope to go one step further after falling to Tigres UANL in the 2020 CCL final, plus keep the regional crown in MLS's court after Seattle Sounders FC's historic victory in 2022. For the Union, it’s more heartbreak in a high-stakes match and questions of what could have been if key moments went their way. Jim Curtin's group, quite agonizingly, fell in a second CCL semifinal in three years – and sits 0W-3L-4D all-time vs. LAFC. 
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Kwadwo Opoku’s confident finish, after subbing on for Mateusz Bogusz midway through the second half, made crystal clear LAFC are fully deserving of carrying the MLS flag into another CCL final vs. Liga MX’s representative.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Dénis Bouanga drew the Union’s second-half red card, then added the 90th-minute clinching goal. The Landon Donovan MLS MVP candidate now has six goals and four assists in six CCL games this year.

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