LAFC reaches second Concachampions final with convincing 3-0 win over Union


LAFC skipper Carlos Vela and the reigning MLS champs will face a Liga MX side in the CCL finals at the end of this month. (Photo by Christopher Morris – Corbis/Getty Images)

Los Angeles FC steamrolled MLS rivals Philadelphia Union 3-0 Tuesday night to advance to the Concacaf Champions League final for the second time in franchise history.

Reigning MLS champions LAFC reached the Concachampions final back in 2020, losing 2-1 to Liga MX giants Tigres in Orlando.

Philadelphia’s Concachampions dream ended at the semifinal stage for the second time in three years (Club América KO’d the Union 4-0 in 2021) as the Union remained winless against LAFC.

Philly lost the MLS finals in a penalty shootout to LAFC in November and is now 0-4-2 all-time against their fellow expansion club.

Carlos Vela and Co aim to make it two in a row for MLS

Playing in front of 22,000 black-and-gold clad fans, Los Angeles took an early lead and made it stand up before a late flurry closed the deal.

Timothy Tillman put the home side ahead in minute 13 off a corner kick to cap off early pressure, a gut punch from which the Union never recovered.

Philly goalie Andre Blake made a fantastic sprawling save to deny the initial shot – a close-range header by Ilie Sánchez off Carlos Vela’s cross – but could not scramble back to his feet in time to prevent Tillman from roofing the rebound at the back post.

Try as they might, the MLS runners-up could not generate much offense (LAFC held their guests to just 2 shots on goal), while Blake did his part to keep his team in the game. The Jamaica international made 5 saves on the night.

When right back Olivier Mbaizo was shown a second yellow card after a reckless tackle in minute 59, the air went out of the Philly balloon. Kwadwo Opoku (82’) and Dennis Bouanga (90’) put the Union out of their misery late on.

LAFC now awaits their finals opponent which is guaranteed to be a Liga MX team. León hosts Tigres Wednesday night with the visitors starting off with a 2-1 advantage from the first leg.

If Tigres draw or win, we’ll be treated to a rematch of the 2020 Concachampions final. León has reached but one Concacaf final (the 1993 Champions Cup) while Tigres is 1-3 in CCL finals.

Carlos Vela and LAFC would love nothing better than to be the second straight MLS team to hoist the CCL trophy after Seattle Sounders ended a 16-year Liga MX winning streak in the Concacaf Champions League by defeating UNAM in last year’s final.