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CCL Rewind: LAFC ties Union, Tigres edges Club Leon in first leg matchups


Los Angeles FC had to dig deep to avoid a CONCACAF Champions League semifinal first leg loss in Chester, Pennsylvania, but fought their way back to gain valuable momentum ahead of a return trip home.

Kellyn Acosta’s 91st minute equalizer helped Steve Cherundolo’s squad earn a 1-1 draw at Subaru Park, cancelling out Daniel Gazdag’s opening goal in the 86th minute. John McCarthy made four saves for LAFC while Andre Blake made two for Jim Curtin’s squad.

Acosta’s flicked finish in the box helped LAFC draw level after Denis Bouanga’s cross from the right wing deflected its way to the streaking midfielder. It was a redemption moment for the 27-year-old Acosta after he conceded a penalty kick just six minutes prior.

Gazdag had propelled the Union in front after 86 minutes after Acosta’s flailing hand got in the way of Jack McGlynn’s shot. VAR ruled in favor of the spot kick as referee Cesar Arturo Ramos Palazuelos eventually pointed to the penalty spot.

Mikael Uhre was denied by McCarthy in the 40th minute on a breakaway after the veteran goalkeeper raced off his line to get in the way. Julian Carranza was also denied just before halftime as McCarthy dove to his left to catch the Argentine’s effort.

Bouanga was denied twice in the second half by Blake before Jose Cifuentes’ long-range effort was also punched away by the Jamaican international.

McGlynn’s last-gasp free kick was easily gathered by McCarthy as the two MLS clubs finished level at 1-1 through 90+ minutes.

BMO Stadium will host the second leg on May 1 with the winner facing either Tigres or Club Leon in the CCL Final.

Tigres 2, Club Leon 1

In the first of three head-to-head meetings over eight days, Tigres claimed a 2-1 aggregate advantage in its CCL semifinal first leg matchup with Club Leon.

Francisco Cordova and Luis Quinones both scored both halftime to cancel out Victor Davila’s opening goal for Club Leon. Tigres will head on the road for the second leg next Tuesday.

Davila boosted the visitors in front in the sixth minute, picking up a pass from Lucas Di Yorio before unleashing a long-range strike for a 1-0 advantage. It was the latest goal from the in-form forward as Club Leon struck first.

However, Tigres would flip the script before halftime with two goals in quick succession. Quinones set up Cordova for an equalizing goal in the 45th minute as Cordova delivered a top-shelf finish.

Quinones propelled Tigres in front 2-1 before the halftime break as he finished off Samir’s headed pass.

Fidel Ambriz was denied by Nahuel Guzman in the 71st minute as Club Leon tried to earn an equalizer of their own. However, Tigres hung on for a first leg win ahead of this weekend’s Liga MX showdown between the two clubs.

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