Los Angeles FC faced a daunting task heading into Thursday’s Concacaf Champions League second leg against Club Leon, but the reigning MLS Supporters’ Shield winners showed off their quality to put together a history-making comeback.
LAFC scored three unanswered goals to complete its comeback against the Mexican side, earning a place in the CCL quarterfinals alongside New York City FC, the Montreal Impact, and Atlanta United.
The Seattle Sounders were unable to make it a perfect five-for-five for MLS teams, suffering a penalty shootout loss to Honduran side CD Olimpia.
Here’s a full rundown of the final matchday of the CCL Round of 16.
LAFC 3, Club Leon 0 (3-2 on aggregate)
(Vela 27′, 77′, Rossi 79′)
Carlos Vela scored a brace and Diego Rossi accidentally provided the winner to send LAFC to the quarterfinals with a massive win against Club Leon.
LAFC brought their full on attacking game in their first home game of 2020 and they thought they had their first goal just after the 20 minute mark when Carlos Vela tapped into an empty net, but the flag was raised in the buildup to nullify it. They did go in front on the night in the 27th minute thanks to a lucky bounce off a Vela shot. Vela received a pass on the doorstep and his touch bounced awkwardly off Leon keeper Rodolfo Cota and into the net.
The hosts would keep the pressure going through the second half, but they struggled to find the final ball until Vela provided the aggregate equalizer in the 77th minute. He got free behind the Leon defense and knocked home a feed from Tristan Blackmon. It took just two more minutes for them to find the winner. Rossi’s shot may not have been a shot at all as it floated off the crossbar and the far post before bumbling over the line.
LAFC will now meet another Mexican giant, Cruz Azul, in the quarterfinals.
Sounders 2, Olimpia 2 (4-4 on aggregate, 2-4 in penalties)
(Roldan 21′, Paulo 64′)-(Oliva 4′, Pineda 86′)
In a dramatic upset, CD Olimpia eliminated the Seattle Sounders from CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday night.
Following the first knockout-round victory in club history, the Honduran heavyweights now advance to the quarterfinals, where they will face the Montreal Impact in mid-March.
With the match seemingly all but over in the 86th minute, Olimpia midfielder Carlos Pineda, lurking just outside the penalty arc, stepped into a deflected free kick and skipped a first-timed shot past goalkeeper Stefan Frei. The goal equalized the match at 2-2 and the series at 4-4. With the away-goals tiebreaker tied as well, the match proceeded directly to penalty kicks.
All four Olimpia players converted their penalty kicks, while Cristian Roldan skied the Sounders third attempt into the stands and Kelvin Leerdam saw his shot saved by goalkeeper Edrick Menjivar.
Elvin Oliva opened the scoring for the visitors in just the fourth minute, slipping between the Sounders’ center backs to head a Matias Garrido corner kick past Roldan at the near post. The goal briefly put Olimpia ahead 1-0 on the evening and 3-2 on aggregate.
Roldan answered for the Sounders in the 21st minute with a set-piece goal of his own, heading a Joao Paulo free kick past Menjivar to equalize and put the Sounders ahead on away goals.
Paulo then put the Sounders up 2-1 in the match and 4-3 on aggregate in the 64th minute, sending a deflected shot off defender Johnny Leveron and past Menjivar. Signed in late January, the Sounders’ latest designated player has recorded two goals and an assist in his first two matches with the club.
The Sounders seemed sure to advance down the stretch, dominating possession and nearly adding an insurance goal on multiple occasions.