Bob Bradley: LAFC not expecting Eduard Atuesta to be available for Concacaf Champions League final

Eduard Atuesta - LAFC - tight shot

UPDATE: Mon., Dec 21 at 5:10 pm ET
LAFC will have to play the Concacaf Champions League Final on Tuesday without Eduard Atuesta, as Concacaf said in a Monday announcement the federation doesn't overturn referee decisions that have been made on the field. That means Bob Bradley's group will be taking on Tigres on Tuesday without their midfield rock due to the controversial red card he received in the club's CCL semifinal matchup with Club America.

UPDATE: Mon., Dec 21 at 2 pm ET

Speaking with reporters ahead of LAFC's game Tuesday night, head coach Bob Bradley cast doubt over Eduard Atuesta's red card being overturned. While Bradley didn't definitively say what the outcome was, he made clear that the Black & Gold are preparing to be without their defensive midfielder.

"I'm certain that Eduard will not be allowed to play," Bradley said. "The discussion is at a higher level than I'm involved with, so my experience in these situations is to still try to make sure the players understand what's going on. We wouldn't be in the final if it wasn't for Eduard. Man, he's an important player for us, a really talented young guy. You really are sad when a young player is so important and then misses out on a final." 

Asked about who could take Atuesta's spot in the starting XI, Bradley said that decision was still to be determined. They subbed on Latif Blessing and Francisco Ginella in the second half against Club America, so there are options.

"We've got four guys that are all ready," Bradley said.

ORIGINAL: Mon., Dec 21 at 9:23 am ET

LAFC are exploring the possibility of appealing Eduard Atuesta’s red card from their Concacaf Champions League semifinal win over Club America, seeking to make their defensive midfielder available for selection in Tuesday’s final against Tigres UANL (10 pm ET | FS2, TUDN in US).

The development was first reported yesterday by Alicia Rodriguez, with the MLS club exploring all possibilities to overturn the on-field decision from head referee Juan Gabriel Calderon. However, it is unclear if Concacaf have a formal appeal process for the continental tournament, making the process more complicated.

Atuesta was sent off during first-half stoppage time of LAFC’s eventual 3-1 win over Club America. The Colombian midfielder looked to draw a penalty kick after being tripped in the 18-yard box, but no call was given and goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa took exception to the sequence. As Atuesta stood up, Ochoa flailed despite receiving minimal, if any, contact, resulting in his opponent being sent off. Atuesta was also shoved to the ground by two Club America players after Ochoa’s theatrics.

Check out the entire sequence below:

LAFC eventually roared back with goals from Carlos Vela in the 46th and 47th minutes, as well as a stoppage-time clincher from Latif Blessing. In the process, Bob Bradley’s team became the first club to knock off three Liga MX opponents in the same CCL tournament. 

But Atuesta’s an important part of LAFC’s midfield, earning MLS Best XI honors in 2019. The 23-year-old has five goals and 15 assists in 72 MLS games (60 starts) for LAFC, providing possession and stop-gap play in their front-foot, aggressive style.