Denis Bouanga celebrates his goal. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles FC advanced to the final of the Concacaf Champions League with a 3-0 semifinal victory over the Philadelphia Union at BMO Stadium on Tuesday night.
LAFC won the series 4-1 on aggregate, having played to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Philadelphia last week.
The hosts took the lead in the 13th minute when Timothy Tillman scored his first goal in the competition. Ilie Sanchez had his close-range header saved on the line by Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake, but Tillman reacted quickly to the rebound and slammed it into the open net for a 1-0 lead.
The Union being reduced to 10 men when Olivier Mbazio was sent off for collecting a second yellow card in the 59th minute. LAFC finally put the series out of reach in the 82nd minute when Carlos Vela played Mahala Opoku into the box and the Ghanaian forward fired home to double the lead.
Denis Bouanga, the 2023 Concacaf Champions League leading scorer, rounded out the scoring in the 90th minute, tallying his sixth goal of the competition off a feed from Jose Cifuentes.
Goalkeeper John McCarthy, the MVP of MLS Cup against the Union last year, made two saves to keep his fourth clean sheet in six Champions League games this year.
LAFC awaits the winner of Wednesday’s match featuring Tigres UANL and Club León, both representatives of Liga MX. The two clubs are scheduled to play their second leg of the CCL semifinals at Estadio León at 10 p.m. ET. Tigres hold a 2-1 aggregate advantage after hosting the first leg last week and have never lost a semifinal series in CCL play. LAFC fell 2-1 to Tigres in their last CCL Final appearance (2020). This year’s Concacaf Champions League winner will face top clubs from around the world, including victors from each of the world’s five other confederations, in the FIFA Club World Cup in December.