LAFC vs. Club León: 2023 Concacaf Champions League final awaits


The MLS vs. Liga MX matchup for the 2023 Concacaf Champions League final is locked in.

LAFC will meet Club León across two legs on May 31 and June 4, with the winner getting continental bragging rights, prize money and two FIFA Club World Cup spots (both 2023 and the expanded 2025 version).

Given past results in the competition, LAFC will travel to Estadio León for the first leg before hosting the all-decisive second leg at BMO Stadium.

To reach this stage, LAFC beat the Philadelphia Union in their semifinal series (4-1 aggregate) that amounted to a repeat of their epic MLS Cup 2022 final. As for Club León, they overcame Mexican powerhouse Tigres UANL in their semifinal series (4-3 aggregate) to keep their trophy hunt going.

Had Tigres UANL advanced, LAFC would have entered a rematch of the 2020 CCL final they lost 2-1 on André-Pierre Gignac’s late goal. Instead, the Black & Gold get a rematch of a Round of 16 series they played during that 2020 run, memorably storming to a 3-2 aggregate win behind a second-leg comeback.

  • 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, MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield winners last fall, could raise a third trophy in eight months if all goes to plan. That opportunity arrives via their second CCL final in four years, with captain Carlos Vela the most prominent holdover from their 2020 squad.

During this year’s CCL run, which includes a 3-0 win in each prior series, Dénis Bouanga has been in electric form. The DP forward has six goals and four assists in six games, showing why he’s a Landon Donovan MLS MVP candidate.

Head coach Steve Cherundolo’s team, with depth and star power, will like their chances of making it two CCL titles for MLS in as many years. They’re hoping to follow in the footsteps of Seattle Sounders FC, who last spring beat Liga MX’s Pumas UNAM in a similar home-away setup.

  • Semifinal: 4-3 aggregate win vs. Tigres UANL (Mexico)
  • Quarterfinal: 6-2 aggregate win vs. AC Violette (Haiti)
  • Round of 16: 3-0 aggregate win vs. Tauro (Panama)

Club León, consistently among Liga MX’s best teams in recent years, made their first CCL final behind a 3-1 win in the semifinal second (home) leg against Tigres UANL. It’s quite the feat for head coach Nicolás Larcamón’s team, who qualified for the tournament as Apertura 2021 champions. 

Los Verdiblancos have veteran staples like goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota and winger Ángel Mena, plus younger standouts like midfielder Fidel Ambríz and striker Víctor Dávila. And there’s one of Concacaf’s most recognizable forwards of the past decade in Costa Rican international Joel Campbell. 

Club León have struggled against MLS teams as of late, yet will benefit from hosting the first leg. They’ll also be coming off a Liga MX playoff run, which begins May 7 against San Luis.