LAFC down 2-1 in CCL Final
Club León were by far the better side on the night but a 96th-minute goal from Dénis Bouanga changed the tone of the first leg. LAFC host León on Sunday in the second leg. Kickoff is set for 9 pm ET on FS1 and TUDN.
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Even before the first leg of the CCL Final, things were going haywire in MLS. Just a wild night. Here’s what went down.
What happened?: To be honest, LAFC got smacked for about 95 minutes of soccer. They were simply outplayed. But an outstanding performance from goalkeeper John McCarthy and a late goal from Dénis Bouanga made the second leg in LA feel immensely more manageable.
So, did we learn anything?: Whoooooooo boy. They had them in the first half, I’m not gonna lie. The second half too. And most of stoppage time. But Bouanga’s late goal with one of the final kicks of the game is a moment that turned the final on its head. Now, a win at home likely gets the job done for LAFC. Seriously, you can’t overstate how important that goal is. It’s a championship-caliber moment. They’ve weathered the storm and now they just might be able to take control of the entire thing.
What happened?: So much. New England scored in the first 30 seconds thanks to a giveaway from Brad Guzan. Atlanta peppered the goal for a bit, then New England scored again out of nothing. Down 2-0 at the half, Atlanta fought their way back into it and eventually took the lead on an AT&T 5G Goal of the Matchday candidate from Miguel Berry. And then, out of nothing, New England scored in stoppage time. I needed a nap.
So, did we learn anything?: Just another data point that Atlanta’s roster still needs work down the spine. They have good pieces, but key positions like a No. 8 and goalkeeper are struggling so much right now. This is just kind of Atlanta’s existence until they get through another transfer window or two. They were by far the better team, but they’re still far from a complete team.
What happened?: The Crew needed to take the lead back after an early opener from Colorado but they eventually took control.
So, did we learn anything?: Nah. It’s just a rough, rough moment for Colorado right now. They’ve lost five straight in MLS and six straight in all competitions. They’re now in last place in the league.
What happened?: D.C. took a 2-0 lead… and then the 80th-minute hit. Oops.
So, did we learn anything?: D.C. feel like a classic “learning how to win” team. They’re good enough to get results but there are still little details that they have to learn how to get right. The defending on both Montréal goals left a lot to be desired. It’s another good result for Montréal though. They still have the worst goal differential in the East, but they’re grabbing points at a decent clip.
What happened?: NYCFC ran into a buzzsaw. Cincy were in control here.
So, did we learn anything?: So… uh… it’s time to have some serious talks about NYCFC. They’re 14th in the East. They’re also only four points out of an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs spot, but this is NYCFC. They’ve earned the second-most points of any Eastern Conference team over the last five years. They’ve been consistently excellent for a while. Now though… that’s one whole point from their last 18. One. It’s a disaster right now.
What happened?: Oof. Cross off the post and off a diving keeper to lose the game.
So, did we learn anything?: Nah. Charlotte nearly got out of there. Philly were definitely better, but that’s just a bad break. Although, you should definitely check out the piece in the Reading Rainbow about Philly using tactics from Brentford FC.
What happened?: Toronto and Chicago scored the same number of goals as you and me did last night.
So, did we learn anything?: Playing soccer with your friends for 90 minutes can still be a fun way to exercise, even if you don’t score.
What happened?: Tom Barlow made the difference.
So, did we learn anything?: The Red Bulls are starting to get results. I’m not sure they’ll ever score more than one goal in a game, but they won’t allow more than one goal in a game much either. This is who they are this year and that high-floor style of play will eventually put them back in a playoff spot.
Inter Miami are falling behind. It’s not surprising considering the injuries.
What happened?: Both teams traded first-half goals, but Sebastián Driussi eventually found the late winner for Austin.
So, did we learn anything?: Just a brutal loss here for the Loons. They put up 3.1 xG worth of chances and only allowed 1.3 xG. I’m not sure we learned anything but I do feel bad for Minnesota. And I do have my questions about why their shot-stopping numbers have been so poor this year—just something to keep an eye on.
What happened?: Sporting KC were in control of this one. Gadi Kinda and Dániel Sallói paved the way for a massive win.
So, did we learn anything?: Alright, SKC. You officially have my attention. They didn’t blow Dallas’ doors off or anything, but it takes good work to get all three points off of an ultra-consistent Dallas team. That’s four wins in the last six games for SKC and they are now just three points below a very early playoff line.
What happened?: The Galaxy won another game! Huge news. They looked to be on track to drop this one but pulled it out in the end with goals from Memo Rodríguez and Tyler Boyd.
So, did we learn anything?: It’s a step in the right direction. Like we’ve been saying around here, the Galaxy’s underlying numbers are actually pretty decent but they’ve been comically unlucky. Maybe something finally breaking their way will inspire some confidence, even if a win over RSL shouldn’t inspire too much confidence. At the very least, LA are no longer technically in last place. Raise the banner.
What happened?: A road win? For San Jose?
So, did we learn anything?: San Jose can apparently win on the road now. It’s their first road win of the year and their first road win since July of last year and it came in Seattle of all places. That should frighten the rest of the West. Road results have been the missing ingredient for a good Quakes team this year. If they can build off this, then we’re not just talking about a playoff team, but a team earning a home playoff spot.
Meanwhile, Seattle just keep struggling to get results. Right when you think they’re about to be fully healthy they hit a roadblock. Right when you think they’re about to look like… well, Seattle again, they fall short. It’s frustrating to watch right now. They’ve lost four of their last six. And they lost this one despite putting up 26 (!) shots and 3.0 xG. They’ll be fine, but that doesn’t make this any more enjoyable for Seattle fans.
What happened?: Vancouver just pummeled them. Right from the jump. Pedro Vite scored 15 seconds in and just as soon as they relinquished that lead, they grabbed another. A brace from Julian Gressel led the way.
So, did we learn anything?: Sheesh, Vancouver. They didn’t even out-create Houston by xG but they sure took advantage of the opportunities that were presented. That’s more like it though for a team that’s been among the most frustrating in the league. Don’t sleep on the 'Caps. And definitely don’t sleep on Gressel or Brian White. Both have been among the best in the league at their position this year.
- Dénis Bouanga gave hope to LAFC in the CCL Final.
- Philadelphia Union embraced the tactics of Brentford FC in their win over Charlotte.
- Jonathan Sigal explained his MLS All-Star Game Ballot.
- Joe Lowery looked at the top candidates to face Arsenal this summer in the All-Star Game.
- St. Louis CITY SC's Eduard Löwen won the AT&T 5G Goal of the Matchday.
Good luck out there. Show up whenever you’re ready.