LAFC forward Denis Bouanga (99) and Leon midfielder Lucas Romero (29) head the ball during the second half of the CONCACAF Champions League final at Estadio Leon. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Leon got a leg up on Los Angeles FC in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League final on Wednesday night.

The Mexican club recorded a 2-1 home win at Estadio Leon in Mexico.

The second leg is set for Sunday at LAFC’s BMO Stadium, and the hosts will hope history repeats itself. Three years ago in CCL, the Black & Gold trailed Leon 2-0 after the opening leg before rallying to win the two-legged Round of 16 series with a 3-0 victory in the return match.

Leon, which hadn’t played an official match since a May 7 defeat (3-1) to Atletico San Luis in the Liguilla’s early stages, grabbed a lead in the eighth minute.

A minute after John McCarthy made a diving save to deny Alfonso Alvarado, the LAFC goalkeeper was left rooted to his spot as William Tesillo hheaded Angel Mena’s corner kick into the net to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.

Mena doubled the hosts’ lead in first-half stoppage time from the penalty spot after Ryan Hollingshead was called for a handball in the box following a Video Assistant Review.

Mena nearly found a second goal in the 58th minute, but McCarthy made a save. McCarthy made two more in the 77th minute to keep Leon to two goals, which proved vital when LA’s Denis Bouanga scored six minutes into injury time off a Mateusz Bogusz assist.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at