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CCL Preview: Union visit Atlas, LAFC hosts Whitecaps, and more


The Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals conclude this week with a minimum of one MLS club seeing their dream come to an end.

The Philadelphia Union visit Liga MX side Atlas on Wednesday with Jim Curtin’s squad hanging on to a 1-0 aggregate lead. Although the Union did not play particularly well at Subaru Park last week, Daniel Gazdag’s 89th minute penalty kick goal gives the defending MLS Cup finalists a slight edge heading to Mexico this week.

Defending MLS Cup winners Los Angeles FC returns to BMO Stadium for a second leg showdown with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Denis Bouanga’s brace paired with Kwadwo Opoku’s goal propelled LAFC to a 3-0 first leg victory in Canada and now the pressure will be on the Whitecaps to try and turn things around.

Vancouver has picked up back-to-back league victories over CF Montreal and the Portland Timbers, but LAFC will provide a tougher test for the Whitecaps. Brian White, Simon Becher, and Co. will try and pull a major shock away from home.

Atlas vs. Philadelphia Union

Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET, Union leads 1-0 on aggregate

It hasn’t been a good few weeks for the Philadelphia Union in terms of MLS play, but advancement in the Concacaf Champions League will be Jim Curtin’s biggest priority this week.

The Union have failed to win any of their last four MLS matches, losing 1-0 on Saturday at FC Cincinnati. After rolling their way to the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference in 2022, the Union have struggled on both ends of the pitch and will need a strong team performance to avoid elimination at Atlas.

Mikael Uhre, Julian Carranza, and Daniel Gazdag should all be well rested after coming off the bench over the weekend.

Liga MX side Atlas is unbeaten in four-consecutive league matches, but will hope for a better offensive performance at home this Wednesday. Julian Quinones scored the lone goal in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with FC Juarez, continuing his impressive run of form in the final third.

The 26-year-old Colombian has six goals in his last five appearances and will be the go-to guy in Benjamin Mora’s squad.

LAFC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Tuesday, 10:15 p.m. ET, LAFC leads 3-0 on aggregate

LAFC is riding high ahead of Tuesday’s second leg meeting with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Denis Bouanga scored five goals over the past week in two separate competitions, leading LAFC past the Whitecaps 3-0 in Vancouver before notching a hat trick vs. Austin FC on Saturday. The Gabon international has been on fire in Steve Cherundolo’s attack, and will be eager to continue his strong run of form with another Man of the Match performance.

Aaron Long and Jesus Murillo were rested over the weekend after starting alongside one another at BC Place last week.

Vanni Sartini will leave it all on the table this week with the Whitecaps needing a miracle to overcome a 3-0 aggregate deficit. The Whitecaps have won back-to-back league matches for the first time in 2023, but need similar defensive success to shut down a lively LAFC attack.

Former LAFC defender Tristan Blackmon and veteran wingback Julian Gressel are two of the defensive leaders in the squad.

Simon Becher and Brian White have eight combined goals between them and will hope to be the spark that keeps the Whitecaps in the tournament.

Here are the rest of this week’s CCL second leg matches:

Violette AC (HAI) vs. Club Leon (MEX) – Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET (Leon leads 5-0 on aggregate, Game to be played in Dominican Republic)

Tigres (MEX) vs. Motagua (HON) – Thursday, 10 p.m. ET (Tigres leads 1-0 on aggregate)


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