How to watch and stream
- English: FS1
- Spanish: TUDN
- Wednesday, April 26 | 9 pm ET/6 pm PT
- Subaru Park | Chester, Pennsylvania
Last year’s conference champions – Philly in the East and LAFC in the West – will play their semifinal second-leg game on May 2 at BMO Stadium, the site of last year's Hollywood-esque penalty-kick drama, Gareth Bale header and trophy celebration for the hosts.
Ultimately, away goals and penalty kicks could determine who proceeds from this all-MLS matchup where LAFC hold a 2W-0L-3D all-time series lead. And don’t forget: This year’s CCL final, scheduled for May 31 (first leg) and June 4 (second leg), will again feature an MLS vs. Liga MX matchup since the other side of the bracket involves Mexican sides Club León and Tigres UANL.
With the field narrowing, Philly and LAFC hope to keep the CCL crown in MLS’s court after Seattle Sounders FC’s historic triumph in 2022, ending Liga MX’s stretch of dominance in the continental competition by beating Pumas UNAM across two legs. Who moves closer toward regional bragging rights and a 2025 FIFA Club World Cup spot?
- Round of 16: 4-0 aggregate vs. Alianza FC (El Salvador)
- Quarterfinal: 3-2 aggregate vs. Atlas FC (Mexico)
Philadelphia are the latest MLS team to eliminate a Liga MX foe in CCL play, riding Julián Carranza’s brace during a 2-2 draw at Atlas FC to reach their second CCL semifinal in three years. After losing to Mexico’s Club América in 2021's semifinals (4-0 aggregate), there’s the chance to keep building on year-over-year progress under manager Jim Curtin.
Now, Philadelphia have made no secret of envisioning revenge against LAFC given the memorable clashes between opposite-coast clubs, no bigger than MLS Cup 2022 last November. Penalty kicks and a 128th-minute equalizer kept the Union from raising MLS’s greatest prize, roughly a month after a tiebreaker (most wins) gave the Supporters’ Shield to LAFC despite both clubs finishing on 67 points last season.
After some middling results in league play, Philadelphia are enjoying the tailwinds of last weekend’s 4-2 win over Toronto FC, a result highlighted by Mikael Uhre’s hat trick. Slowly but surely, the preseason favorite is showing glimpses of what they could accomplish this year.
Philadelphia have an MLS Matchday 10 bye, so there’s further incentive to go all-out in Leg 1 and keep the aggregate scoreline on positive terms. While squad rotation and fixture congestion have presented challenges in 2023, those concerns are abated given the stakes of what awaits.
- Round of 16: 4-2 aggregate vs. Alajuelense (Costa Rica)
- Quarterfinal: 6-0 aggregate vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS)
LAFC enter this CCL series as the last remaining undefeated team in league play (5W-0L-3D record), avoiding a championship hangover after last year’s MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield triumphs. It’s a collective testament to the squad retooling co-president and general manager John Thorrington has spearheaded and a club-wide culture to vehemently believe they can win every game irrespective of which players head coach Steve Cherundolo calls upon.
The Black & Gold, time and time again, have benefitted from Landon Donovan MLS MVP-esque form by Dénis Bouanga. The DP forward has 12 goals and five assists in a dozen games across all competitions, remarkably making Carlos Vela’s impressive six goals and five assists across the same workload appear second fiddle.
If the Black & Gold get an away goal or keep the tie on favorable terms, they’ll feel confident before returning home for Leg 2 next week. Their Matchday 10 game vs. Houston Dynamo FC has also been rescheduled for June 14, helping alleviate heavy legs while chasing continental aspirations.
Big picture, LAFC are chasing their second CCL final appearance in four years after losing to Liga MX’s Tigres UANL in 2020. With squad depth and high-end talent, they’ll like their chances of advancing.