Los Angeles FC began the Concacaf Champions League knockout rounds considered Major League Soccer’s best hope of breaking its CCL championship drought, and now LAFC is the league’s latest remaining hope after eliminating another Liga MX team.
LAFC defeated Cruz Azul, 2-1, on Wednesday in the CCL quarterfinals at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, with Kwadwo Opoku hitting a left-footed volley in the 71st minute for the winning goal, which moves LAFC into a semifinal matchup against Club America on Saturday.
LAFC nearly opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Diego Rossi rattled a shot off the crossbar.
Former Orlando City midfielder Yoshimar Yotun opened the scoring in the 15th minute with a penalty kick, but Carlos Vela equalized in the 38th minute with his own spot kick.
LAFC took the lead in the 71st minute when Eddie Segura headed a Carlos Vela corner kick into the path of Opoku, who hit a perfect left-footed volley for the winner.
In Wednesday night’s other Champions League quarterfinal match, Atlanta United posted a 1-0 victory over Club America, but Club America advanced to the semifinals with a 3-1 aggregate victory. Teenage midfielder Jackson Conway scored the lone goal for Atlanta United, which joined the Montreal Impact and New York City FC among the teams eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Club America will face LAFC on Saturday in Orlando, with Tigres facing CD Olimpia in the other semifinal. The Concacaf Champions League final takes place on Tuesday.