LAFC make history: Every Concacaf Champions League finalist from MLS


It's a long, hard road to the Concacaf Champions League final – one only a few select MLS clubs have traveled during the modern iteration of the tournament.

Now, LAFC are the league's first two-time finalist after eliminating the Philadelphia Union (4-1 aggregate) Tuesday night in their 2023 semifinal series.

Let's explore how Major League Soccer teams reached CCL's biggest stage over the years.

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

LAFC are in their second CCL final in four years, overcoming revenge-minded Philadelphia across two legs. Kellyn Acosta's stoppage-time strike earned a 1-1 draw in the away leg, then they took care of business with a 3-0 rout in the home leg.

It's the continuation of a 2022 campaign where Steve Cherundolo's group became the league's eighth-ever team to complete the MLS Cup-Supporters' Shield double. Now, they'll get a chance at continental history and keeping the CCL crown away from Liga MX's grasp.

  • Final: 5-2 aggregate win vs. Pumas UNAM (Mexico)
  • Semifinal: 4-2 aggregate win vs. New York City FC (MLS)
  • Quarterfinal: 4-1 aggregate win vs. Club León (Mexico)
  • Round of 16: 5-0 aggregate win vs. FC Motagua (Honduras)

The standard by which all MLS clubs are now measured in CCL, Seattle broke the league's title drought last year with a legendary 2022 run that culminated in a dominant second leg against Liga MX's Pumas UNAM.

With their history-making title, the Sounders claimed regional supremacy while also becoming Major League Soccer's first-ever representative at the FIFA Club World Cup.

  • Final: 2-1 loss vs. Tigres UANL (Mexico)
  • Semifinal: 3-1 win vs. Club América (Mexico)
  • Quarterfinal: 2-1 win vs. Cruz Azul (Mexico)
  • Round of 16: 3-2 aggregate win vs. Club León (Mexico)

With recently-crowned 2019 Landon Donovan MLS MVP Carlos Vela leading the way, the Black & Gold plowed through three Liga MX opponents en route to a showdown against arguably Mexico's most dominant side: Tigres UANL.

In a winner-take-all final (shortened from two legs due to the COVID-19 pandemic), Diego Rossi opened the score for LAFC, only for Los Felinos to turn things around late in the second half. French star André-Pierre Gignac netted the title-clinching goal for Tigres while ending the Black & Gold's memorable CCL campaign in heartbreaking fashion.

  • Final: 4-2 penalty kick loss (after 3-3 aggregate) vs. Chivas (Mexico)
  • Semifinal: 4-2 aggregate win vs. Club América (Mexico)
  • Quarterfinal: 4-4 aggregate win (away goals) vs. Tigres UANL (Mexico)
  • Round of 16: 2-0 aggregate win vs. Colorado Rapids (MLS)

Coming off their 2017 treble season (MLS Cup, Supporters' Shield and Canadian Championship), Toronto FC came oh-so-close to achieving international immortality by taking Liga MX titans Chivas de Guadalajara down to the wire in a legendary final. After a 2-1 loss at home, TFC pulled off an improbable 2-1 second-leg victory in Mexico.

Unfortunately, luck was not on Toronto's side during the subsequent PK shootout, with Chivas going a perfect four-for-four on the kicks from the spot (including a goal from current Sporting Kansas City Designated Player Alan Pulido) en route to a 4-2 triumph after a 3-3 aggregate result.

  • Final: 5-3 aggregate loss vs. Club América (Mexico)
  • Semifinal: 4-4 aggregate win (away goals) vs. Alajuelense (Costa Rica)
  • Quarterfinal: 3-3 aggregate win (away goals) vs. Pachuca (Mexico)

The first Canadian club to reach a CCL final, CF Montréal took full advantage of the tournament's away goals rule by eliminating both Pachuca and Alajuelense in the previous rounds through that method.

After earning a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Estadio Azteca in the final's first leg, Montréal looked poised to become champions – especially after taking a 1-0 lead at home just eight minutes into the second leg. However, it all came crumbling down in the last 45 minutes, as Club América scored four times to take home the trophy thanks to a 5-3 aggregate score.

  • Final: 3-2 aggregate loss vs. Monterrey (Mexico)
  • Semifinal: 3-2 aggregate win vs. Saprissa (Costa Rica)
  • Quarterfinal: 4-1 aggregate win vs. Columbus Crew (MLS)

Less than two years removed from their MLS Cup 2009 victory, Real Salt Lake had the CCL title within their grasp after leaving Monterrey's Estadio Tecnológico with a 2-2 draw in the final's first leg. 

It wasn't meant to be, however. RSL failed to seal the series at home, with Humberto Suazo sending Los Rayados to the promised land by scoring the game's lone goal at America First Stadium.