LAFC vs Club León, summary: Di Yorio, score, goals & highlights | CONCACAF Champions League final second leg
LAFC vs Club León : CCL final, as it happened
What a fantastic performance from start to finish from Club León, who outclassed their opponents from the first whistle and fully deserve the win over two legs.
After being slaughtered for 90 minutes in Mexico, Cherundolo mixed things up for the return fixture but his strange 5-2-3 setup in the second leg played perfectly into the hands of Club León, who outnumbered their opponents in all areas of the pitch. The plan from the MLS side allowed the Mexicans to flow through the game with relative ease, even in the moments that LAFC had to maintain something like a period of sustained attack.
But it never lasted long, and the threats that the Mexican side possessed on both wings were always there at the flick of a switch, with Mena and Hernández threatening constantly, spinning the LAFC defenders round like unsuspecting frogs caught up in a tornado.
Changes came in the second half, with a switch of system from Cherundolo, which worked to an extent, allowing LAFC more controlled possession and spacial dominance on the pitch. But the story overall was the same, and Club León sat and watched, battling back the waves of pressure that a lot of times crumbled in front of them before they needed to step in.
Something about LAFC was off from the start, with poor final passes and rushed counter attacks a common theme throughout for the MLS side.
But let's not take anything away from a spectacular couple of performances from León, who were well worth the win over the two games and deserving of the trophy.
I'll leave you with the image of the night!
Thank you for everyone who tuned into what was a truly fantastic performance from the eventual winners, Club León.
LAFC will be disappointed to get to a final again and fail to win, but perhaps it will be third time lucky for them. I'm sure they'll be back.
Make sure you head over to check out the rest of the coverage at en.as.com: the football never stops and we're continuing with our global coverage just like always!
Player awards handed out:
Fidel Ambríz was given the Young Player of the Tournament award.
Víctor Dávila was named as Best Player of the Tournament.
Here are the stats from the game...
Despite what the shot numbers say, it was a total domination from Club León, who were well worth the win.
Here's the hero!
OK, in truth, the goal in the first leg proved to be enough, but Di Yorio's performance was excellent and his finish sent LAFC heads into space: the shock of conceding never went away from the side who huffed and puffed and failed to find a spark across 180 minutes of football.
It's time for Club León to lift the trophy!
Here we go!
Club León win their first ever Champions League!
CLUB LEÓN WIN THE CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE!!!!
OVER THE BAR!!!
Murillo's touch flies over!
We're into the final minute of the game. Another corner for LAFC...
Murillo goes on a mazy run that ends with him being fouled on the edge of the box - no foul given.
Romero's head is still bleeding and now the medical staff are cleaning him with a hosepipe. Warrior.
LAFC have a corner after goodworkfromBiuk (again).
LAFC go close with a header from Tillman, but Cota is well positioned to stop the late attempt on goal.
Dávila broke away twice in 20 seconds after two errors from LAFC and on the second attempt, he was brought down by Maldonado, but the referee did not see the challenge as penalty-worthy.
DÁVILA GOES DOWN IN THE BOX AND CLUB LEON WANT A PENALTY
Opoku has been a bright spark for LAFC in the second half, especially since the exit of Vela, who was playing on the right until he was taken off.
TEN added minutes!
It wasn't a penalty: Biuk squirmed into the box but the challenge from the defender was non-existent and the referee made the right call.
I'll need to see a replay to tell you folks what just happened, but there weren't many complaints form the players.
The referee says no!
LAFC WANT A PENALTY
Opoku and Hollingshead link up nicely on the right but Dávila's defensive effort is good enough to block the cross from the right-back.
Alvarado and Rodríguez ON
Moreno and Hernández OFF
Rubio's touch as the ball is floated into the box by Bouanga almost skips past Cota, who is off his line... but somehow the goalkeeper's quick hands grab the ball at chest height.
Cota saves another LAFCattack down the left. The changes have worked, to be fair to Cherundolo, forcing one to wonder why he started 5 defenders in the first half.
LAFC still need two goals to draw level.
Into the wall... the whole stadium groans as one.
LAFC, it seems, have woken up. They have another free-kick on the edge of the box, this time it's Biuk who goes down.
Everyone on one side of the goal though that was in from Bouanga, who worked the ball well inside the box before firing a rocket into the side netting.
CLUB LEON SAVED AGAIN!
BOUANGA FIRES A SHOT AT GOAL THAT THE STADIUM THINKS IS IN!
The ball was played through the centre-back and left-back of León where Opoku was waiting inside the box and onside. He took one touch to steady himself and hit a shot that was saved by Cota!
OPOKU WITH A GOLDEN CHANCE
WHAT A SAVE FROM COTA!!!!
Opoku runs the ball to the byline and fires a low cross in towards goal, but it's too close to Cota, who collects easily.
The fans are incredibly frustrated with how León are managing the game. Everyone is on their feet on all sides of the ground, their best angry faces on show.
In other news, Romero has just changed into a THIRD shirt. The blood is still around.
Di Yorio is laid on the pitch, injured.
Many non-football things are happening right now.
Di Yorio OFF
This is a decent spell for LAFC, who are finding space down the left side with Biuk, but there is no finishing touch as of yet...
Love to see it:
Romero is playing without a name or number on his new shirt; he previously tried to wipe the blood off the old one, but the referee, obviously, did not allow him to come back on without changing.
Biuk makes it into the box down the left and links up with Palacios, whose cross goes out for a corner.
We're back underway.
Romero is going to carry on, he's all bandaged up.
Surely neither player can continue; there are a lot of red stains on the green grass...
Romero and Long are down after a clash of heads. That look extremely painful for both players. There's a lot of blood.
Long heads just over the bar after Biuk plays in a dangerous cross from the left!
OVER THE BAR!
Acosta spins in the middle of the pitch and plays right to Opoku, who drives forward and forces a corner for LAFC.
Vela off, now that's a huge call.
Tillman and Biuk ON
Sánchez and Vela OFF
This is starting to become painful for the LAFC players, fans and coaching staff, who are all visibly puzzled by the lack of coherence on the pitch.
It's Long this time who is tasked with a game-saving clearance after a dangerous cross from Hernández, who is being given way too much space on the left wing to do potentially irreparable damage.
Murillo saves LAFC with a block after a whipped shot from Hernández looks like it is curling into the net.
CLUB LEÓN ATTACK AGAIN!
LAFC waste another chance to take advantage of the space ahead of them and give the ball away for the one millionth time this evening.
The León fans are now olé-ing the passes from their team at BMO Stadium...
A crazy 30 seconds of football ends with McCarthy collecting the ball as it bobbles towards his goal.
Vela had broken down the right wing and cut inside on his left foot, but he had no space to shoot and took too many touches before playing a poor pass that allowed León to break with Di Yorio.
León broke and the cross was played in by the goal scorer but the goalkeeper for LAFC got in the way.
Palencia is down with what looks like a twisted ankle.
A nice spell of possession for LAFC has their opponents pinned into their own box, until a wayward shot from Sánchez allows the Mexican side to break.
Di Yorio is down injured and is receiving treatment on the pitch.
Vela hits the free-kick into the wall...
WHAT A CHANCE FOR LEÓN!
A free-kick is played to the back post: Di Yorio heads across goal to Tesillo, whose shot goes wide.
LAFC break and Opoku wins a free-kick on the edge of the box.
León, and Di Yorio, almost take advantage of Long's mistake in the clearance but Palacios does well to avoid the striker playing in the cross across goal.
Bouanga goes down after a heroic run from his own half and LAFC start with the same energy as in the first half.
LAFC are back in their regular 4-3-3 shape.
Cifuentes and Opoku ON
Bogusz and Chiellini OFF
And we're off again!
Club León get us going...
LAFC's pre-game tifo:
Beautifully put together by the folks at LAFC 3252. Here's our interview with them from last month.
What a failure of a half for LAFC. Their setup was wrong from the off: this game is not going to be won with intensity alone. Against the quality of players that Club León have, Cherundolo needs a new strategy if he does not want to watch his side lose this game with a whimper.
Club León have walked through the game and managed it superbly well. They have defended when needed and attacked with fluidity and in the right spaces, taking full advantage of the defensive system of the opposition that looks like it was invented in a lucid dream by somebody Cherundolo knew in a past life.
Acosta and Sánchez are constantly surrounded by a pentagon of players in green shirts, meaning that any time they touch the ball their time and space is incredibly limited and decreases exponentially as the milliseconds tick on, causing them to rush every decision they have made.
Palacios, to be fair, has tried to help them, but it was his high positioning that allowed Moreno all the space in the solar system to take the ball and cross it to Di Yorio for the only goal of the game so far.
Well, well, well...
Club León have just started to toy with LAFC as they zip the ball around in the free spaces and subsequent overloads that are being created all across the pitch.
Now even McCarthy is making mistakes for LAFC: the goalkeeper's clearance was poor and landed at the feet of Dávila who, fortunately for the home side, couldn't find the right touch to take the ball down quickly.
3 added minutes.
Into the last minute of normal time.
I can't help but get the feeling that LAFC need to change something if they want to put Club León under any sort of sustained pressure.
The Mexican side are holding their opponents off with one arm and punching them with the other as LAFC take blind swings with no thought behind them.
Good work in attack from LAFC: Vela whipped in a cross that was only partly cleared and Sánchez played square to Acosta on the edge of the box, who hit a left-footed shot that flew just wide of Cota's goal.
ACOSTA GOES CLOSE!
CLUB LEON GO CLOSE!
McCarthy saves a free header from Tesillo! What a huge chance! Terrible organisation at the back from LAFC, yet again.
Ouch! Chiellini goes crashing into Di Yorio and gets a booking.
Bouanga, not for the first time, tries to do it all himself. But he's not an octopus with the skills of a Michelin star waiter, and he can't dribble past 5 players, choosing to throw himself to the floor like a dying swan, to which the referee smirks and tells him to get up.
Acosta rushes things inside his head and launches what I like to call a 'nothing ball', a pass into the air that comes as a result of not thinking that there might actually be an infinite number of better options. Which there were. A waste.
Vela tries to bring life to the nearly-dead and fires in a cross from the left that is well blocked.
As you might have guessed, Club León are in no rush to do, well, anything...
We're over half an hour in, despite the fact it feels like we've only had 5. This game is flying by, which is bad news for LAFC, who need a spark from somewhere.
The 5-at-the-back decision from Cherundolo is looking more and more like an error as the game goes on: the two man midfield is not working at all and Palacios is trying to help, but he looks like someone who's fallen off a cruise ship and is clinging onto a broken piece of a floating plastic island.
Bouanga's shot cannons off the wall and Cota gratefully collects the ball.
LAFC have a very dangerous free-kick, right on the edge of the box in a central position... Ambriz with the trip.
Bouanga goes for the spectacular, but hits a wild shot that threatens to hit the buildings who are pulling concerned faces as they watch on over the BMO Stadium walls.
LAFC can't seem to organise their defence, which is a worry given that Chiellini's introduction, on paper, was going to help stop the attackers that gave them such grief in the first leg.
Right now, they're headless chickens out there. And the fans have been stunned into near-silence.
Dávila goes close again, this time finding space all on his own on the left, where he fired a shot towards the far post that fizzed wide, taking paint off the post as it went by.
CLUB LEON GO CLOSE AGAIN!!!
LAFC ARE SHELLSHOCKED!
Dávila fires wide!
A ball down the right to Moreno was fired through a parting in the LAFC defence that Moses would have been proud of, and the full-back only had to cut the ball back to Di Yorio for the tap-in from close range.
There's the mountain, LAFC, time to climb it...
Bang. And just like that, León punish LAFC.
CLUB LEÓN TAKE ONE STEP CLOSER TO THE TITLE
We're back underway...
Palacios is booked - and very lucky. There was an attempt from Palacios to head-butt Murillo, but the referee was right next to them and did not judge the tiny amount of contact (if any) to be red card worthy.
Now, now... what have we got here? It looks like there was a head-butt from Palacios.
McCarthy collects the free-kick that is fired in from deep. LAFC break with Palacios and Bogusz, but León get back well to stop the attack.
León are just starting to find their feet as the clock ticks on; LAFC can't afford to be passive and see them find their flow, as they have players who can - and did - cause them damage.
Palacios does well to cover his back and kicks the ball out for a corner after Dávila had played Di Yorio in behind.
León finally, after 14 minutes, have their first spell of possession. Palencia cuts out the pass down LAFC's right and the US side recover the ball.
LAFC have kept the ball at the back for at least 90 seconds, forcing Club León to sit back and drop deeper, or chase the ball, giving the home side more of a chance to play through the lines. It's a chess game out there in the early stages.
The ball was floated in from a distant free kick from Vela, and Murillo rose highest and his header went just inches wide!!!
SO CLOSE FROM MURILLO!!!
It's all LAFC, still, and they are now seeing calm possession work in their favour as well as hugely exciting, all-out-attack football.
Club León are pinned into their own defensive third in a mirror image of what we saw in the first leg.
Cherundolo has definitely convinced his players that they can do this tonight, as they have started like race horses, galloping ferociously in all directions.
LAFC almost get in again, this time with Vela, who can't play the final ball left to Bogusz, as it is well cut out by Barreiro.
Barton has his first intervention on the game after Bouanga goes in hard on Moreno., prompting a chat from the referee.
Bogusz almost breaks away down the left but the lines are well covered by Moreno and Barreiro. The Mexican side need to calm things down because LAFC have started the game at 200% power.
Palacios gets in behind and plays a cross from the left towards Vela that goes too far past the goal and the Mexican can't get a shot away in time.
Positive early steps from the MLS side.
BIG CHANCE FOR LAFC!!
LAFC start strongly and on the front foot as the smoke continues to be slashed through by the sunlight. León resort to a few long balls to counter the press...
I can hardly see through the smoke...
AND WE ARE UNDERWAY!
Here we go! LAFC kick us off.
I'm nervous... how are you?
The smoke from the fan choreography has filled the ground like a witch's cauldron... here we go!
Says the huge tifo from the LAFC fans in the stand, as the famous Los Angeles skyline peeks curiously over the top, peering in on the action.
How things look (amazing):
Club León are in their green shirts, white shorts and white socks; LAFC are in that delicious all black kit.
The players are out of the tunnel!
Here we go!!!
The atmosphere is immense...
I can't remember a time when the atmosphere at BMO Stadium was as tense and excited as this!
You might think of last year when LAFC won the MLS Cup, but I would say this feeling tops it by quite a distance. Everyone seems very confident of another historic night at BMO Stadium.
Not long until kick-off!
The players' warmups have finished at BMO Stadium and they're going down the tunnel for the final team talks!
Stay tuned for the minute-by-minute coverage of the action!
Here's a reminder of the starting XIs:
DEF: Palacios - Murillo - Chiellini - Long - Palencia
MID: Sánchez - Acosta
ATT: Vela - Bouanga - Bogusz
Club León XI:
DEF: Moreno - Frias - Barreiro - Tesillo
MID: Ambriz - Romero
ATT: Hernández - Dávila - Di Yorio - Mena
Update on the poll...
Well, it's incredibly tight, but you are more confident of a turnaround by LAFC than León holding onto their one goal lead!
Ah! There is not long to go!
And I've still got more things to give you!
LAFC manager, Steve Cherundolo, even despite the result, was still wholly positive ahead of the game this evening.
Check out everything he had to say before kick-off, as well as the numbers behind the comebacks we've seen on previous CCL occasions, and whether or not the coach has the weight history behind his words.
Carlos Vela is the hero at LAFC, not just this season but for so many games, time and time again.
When the club needs a push in the right direction, the Mexican is usually the man who steps in to take control and show the world he will never lose that touch of magic that has always him such a special player throughout his career across the world.
However, the Concacaf Champions League is the one thing that is missing from his shiny - and huge - trophy cabinet. The first leg did not to plan, and as things stand, it would take a brave soul to bet against the fiery Club León from coming away with the trophy.
But if they don't, and somehow LAFC pull off an historic comeback against their Mexican rivals, you can bet that Vela will have had his hands, and feet, all over it.
LAFC have a lot of work to do...
If they want to turn this tie around and take home the trophy and their place in the Club World Cup, they need to impose their style on Club León, something they failed spectacularly in doing in the first leg.
BMO Stadium hosts the final
Home to LAFC and Angel City FC, BMO stadium was opened in 2018 and has a capacity of 22,000. Previously known as the Banc of California Stadium, it houses some of the steepest stands in the league, which has meant the fans have become some of the fiercest in all of MLS.
And here's the Club León starting lineup:
Mena and Hernández caused havoc in the first leg and tore LAFC's defence to shreds. Will they be able to do the same away from home and against a back 5?
Here's the LAFC XI:
We've got a whole wolf pack of changes here today from Cherundolo, the most staggering of which is the introduction of Chiellini in a back 5 system. Clearly the manager wants the experience in the side.
Who is the referee?
Iván Barton is the referee for the game this evening. The man from El Salvador actually oversaw the incredibly feisty CCL Final game last season, between Seattle Sounders and UNAM Pumas, won by the side from the USA.
Despite the atmosphere and on-field antics, the referee had a solid performance (despite blowing for three penalties). He was also a referee selected to take charge of games at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last December.
Here's some perfect pre-game reading for you as we wait for kick-off.
AS USA spoke to Julio Ramos of 3253, one of LAFC's supporters groups, and they spoke about the state of football in the US, the creation of the group and just what makes them one of the most well-known fan groups in the states!
Away goals DO NOT COUNT in today's game. If the scores are level after 90, they will not be taken into account and we will move to extra-time and penalties!
DEF: Murillo - Palacios - Chiellini - Palencia - Long
MID: Sánchez - Acosta
ATT: Vela - Bouanga - Bogusz
Club León XI
DEF: Moreno - Tesillo - Frias - Barreiro
MID: Ambriz - Romero
ATT: Davila - Hernández - Di Yorio - Mena
Team news filtering in...
It appears as though GeorgioChiellini may have made a miraculous return to the starting XI... stay tuned for official confirmation.
We've got a Twitter poll - have your say!
Who do you think will win? Give us your score prediction as well, let's see what you think!
Tick, tock, tick, tock...
Team news coming up very soon!
Nicolás Larcamón post-game:
Taking away those last minutes, I am left with very good feelings about what we are capable of doing on Sunday.
We are a team that has competed very well every time we leave home, we have established ourselves very well in very difficult stadiums and against great teams, and this will not be the exception
Club León have arrived at BMO Stadium!
The players are here with a 1-2 advantage, and the sense of nervousness inside the stadium is ramping up by the second as the clock ticks down!
One of Europe's greats shake hands with LAFC
German league Champions, Bayern Munich, have sent their support to LAFC ahead of tonight's game.
They have won 6 UEFA Champions Leagues in their long and illustrious history - will they be able to inspire LAFC to their first continental trophy?
Cherundolo post-game comments vs León:
What we were missing all night long was just quality in the final third and the final pass. Our passing was some of the worst I've seen all season.
Credit to Léon, they played excellent in the first half. We didn't have answers for that. And so just backing up and receding and not defending forward has never been a successful way to defend.
It's never been the way we do things at LAFC and it's certainly not something we plan on doing in the future, especially Sunday.
[Bouanga’s goal] was a lifeline. This team showed a lot of guts to make a couple plays at the end of the game.
How it went last time they played (before the last time, which was last week)
Are you a suspicious football fan, dear reader?
Well, get a load of this. The last time these two teams met in the CCL, which was in the 2020 Last 16, LAFC lost the first leg 2-0 on Mexican soil before winning the overall tie 3-2 after a dramatic comeback at home, with a Carlos Vela double (who else?) and a 79th minute Diego Rossi goal.
Will we see history (almost) repeat itself tonight?
Or are León too strong this time?
Want to watch the game today as well as follow us on AS USA with myself?
Well, here's all the information that you need; just click on the link above and you'll be shown the way to a lovely world where you can find everything you could possibly wish for.
HOW IT WENT LAST TIME:
The Mexican side left the León Stadium with a 2-1 win and a feeling that they could have travelled to the US with an even bigger advantage in their pockets.
They dominated the MLS side and apart from a short spell of influence in the second half, LAFC found it difficult to break down León as they were pinned back for most of the game.
William Tesillo opened the scoring early on for León with a beautiful headed effort that punished McCarthy despite a fabulous save that gave away the corner. From then on, it was all León, who tore LAFC’s defence to shreds on various occasions.
Ángel Mena, who could have scored a hat-trick, was also on the scoresheet with a penalty on the stroke of half-time after VAR penalised Ryan Hollingshead for a handball.
McCarthy was the hero for LAFC in the second half with some more fabulous stops and it could have been three were it not for the referee disallowing a goal from Rodríguez.
And then, in the 6th minute of 4 added minutes, Dénis Bouanga got on the end of a lightning-fast counter attack to tap home and give LAFC a lifeline in the tie that, objectively, they did not deserve. But that’s football, and here we are with a fantastic game ahead of us.
Team news: León
León have slightly less injury worries than their opponents, with José Rodríguez, José David Ramírez both unlikely to feature, as well as midfielder Yairo Moreno, who was taken off with an injury in the first leg.
Team news: LAFC
As for LAFC, all of Chiellini, Crepeau, Leone and Murillo are all sidelined with injuries, and Aaron Long looks doubtful to make the second leg after picking up an injury in Mexico.
Well, well, well… What a huge game we have here. It’s the final to end all finals on this side of the world, the one we’ve all been waiting for.
Ready to go?
Welcome to the AS USA live coverage of LAFC vs Club León in the CCL Final second leg.
It’s Joehere to guide you through the smiles and the tears of today’s game. Because we’re going to have plenty.