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CCL Preview: Union host LAFC, Tigres faces Club Leon


The 2023 Concacaf Champions League field is down to four teams with MLS and Liga MX being heavily represented in the final four.

In a rematch of last season’s MLS Cup Final, the Philadelphia Union face off with defending league champions, Los Angeles FC. Jim Curtin’s squad fell to LAFC in a thrilling penalty shootout last November and will have revenge on their minds as they try to reach a first-ever CCL Final.

LAFC is riding an eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions since suffering a second leg defeat to Alajuelense in the Round of 16. Denis Bouanga currently leads the Golden Boot race with five tallies and overall has 12 goals in all comps for Steve Cherundolo’s squad.

Two Liga MX counterparts will also meet in the semifinal round as Tigres hosts Club Leon in Tuesday’s first leg. Tigres is unbeaten in three-consecutive matches while Club Leon has struggled for consistency, failing to win in any of its last four matches. Tuesday’s match will mark the first of three head-to-head encounters, with the Mexican clubs set to also meet on Sunday in Liga MX Clausura action.

Here is a closer look at this week’s Concacaf Champions League action:

Philadelphia Union vs. LAFC

Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET

It’s been over five months since the Philadelphia Union lost to Los Angeles FC in the 2022 MLS Cup Final, and after falling just short last fall, Jim Curtin’s squad will be ready to go at Subaru Park.

The Union eliminated Atlas 3-2 in the quarterfinal round thanks to Julian Carranza’s second leg brace in Mexico. After struggling recently in MLS play, the Union rolled past Toronto FC 4-2 on Saturday with Mikael Uhre registering his first-career hat trick for the club.

After using majority of his first team against TFC, Curtin won’t likely rotate much of his squad on Wednesday.

LAFC’s four-match winning run in all competitions was snapped on Saturday after Steve Cherundolo’s squad fought back to tie Nashville SC 1-1. Denis Bouanga scored his seventh league goal of the season, giving him 12 tallies across all competitions in 2023.

Cherundolo should have Carlos Vela, Kellyn Acosta, and Ryan Hollingshead to all on after all three came off the bench last weekend.

Tigres vs. Club Leon

Tuesday, 10 p.m. ET

It’s not often you see two clubs play each other three times over an eight-day span but Tigres and Club Leon will be one of the few exceptions.

Tigres has won three of its last five matches in all competitions, while registering four clean sheets along the way. After rolling past CD Motagua 6-0 on aggregate in the quarterfinal round, Marco Ruiz’s squad will be full of confidence ahead of their All-Liga MX showdown.

Andre-Pierre Gignac and Luis Quinones have four combined CCL goals this year and will be a tough 1-2 pairing to shut down.

Club Leon has only won one of its last matches in all competitions despite eliminating Violette AC 6-2 on aggregate in the CCL quarterfinals. Nicolas Larcamon will be hoping that his offensive weapons wake up after only registering one goal in the past 360 minutes of action.

Victor Davila and Lucas Di Yorio headline the attack with 10 combined goals and two assists in all competitions. Elias Hernandez also has two goals for Club Leon in CCL play.

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