Once again, LAFC was on the verge of creating history, not only for MLS but also for themselves.
Unfortunately, in arguably the two biggest games of the season, LAFC played lifelessly.
Another International Championship Lost
This isn’t the first time LAFC crumbles in an intercontinental Championship. Back in 2020, they, too, lost this same CONCACAF Champions League. This one stings even more because LAFC was a heavy favorite to win, with Leon having almost 30 days off. Meanwhile, LAFC had match after match that kept them in form.
While history did not shine so brightly, LAFC was hoping to make history and cement themselves as a big-time club. Unfortunately, for them history would repeat itself, and they would go on to lose again.
History Repeated Once Again
There are eerie similarities to how LAFC lost this game compared to the one in 2020. Both times LAFC came off winning the Supporters Shield the year before. The following season they also lost a prolific goalscorer. In 2020 the club did not resign Bradley Wright- Phillips, and for the 2023 season, mere days before kick-off LAFC sold then-top goal scorer Chicho Arango.
In both finals, LAFC lacked depth up front. Both times it has come back to haunt them. In 2020 LAFC dominated a powerful Tigres squad but could land the final blow. Then Tigres reversed the score and won 2-1. Meanwhile, in this final, LAFC was the team that was outplayed. Even closing the series at home was not enough for LAFC, as they were outplayed and outcoached by Leon. It also goes to note that Cherundolo made a few questionable choices in the lineup.
Instead of the typical 4-3-3, he opted for a 5-3-2. Throwing in Chiellini, who had not played in over a month. Los Angelinos will need to learn from this loss if they are to win a competition this big.
The Season Moves On
There is no time to mourn this loss, as LAFC will need to quickly turn the page and move forward. As they host Atlanta United on Wednesday, June 7th. This game was rescheduled from June 3rd and is part of an onslaught of games that were rescheduled due to CCL. After trying to put all their eggs into CCL, LAFC will return to league play where they currently sit in 3rd with only 12 matches played! Their focus must return to the league, as they can not afford to do what other clubs have done after making a deep CCL run.
Last year the Sounders missed the playoffs for the first time in club history after they taxed themselves with CCL. In 2018 Toronto FC completely fell apart after reaching the final and losing. They had a poor 2nd half of the season and missed the playoffs as well. However, LAFC has much better rosters than those two clubs; they will be challenged and must uphold a strong mentality after such a tough loss.
LAFC still has much to fight for, and this season can still be a success; it is up to them to continue strong.