CCL final: LAFC relishes chance to show off what it's all about

Two days later, the wild ending to the first half of the LAFC-Club America match in the Concacaf Champions League semifinals was still the talk of social media.

How American keeper Guillermo Ochoa duped Costa Rican referee Juan Calderon into issuing LAFC's Eduard Atuesta a red card. And how Club America coach Miguel Herrera and LAFC assistant Ante Razov scuffled on the way to their locker rooms and also got tossed.

The end result of the game was LAFC advanced to Tuesday's final against Tigres with a 3-1 win, erasing the 1-0 deficit at halftime on a pair of Carlos Vela goals in the first 82 seconds of the second half.

Herrera and Razov were both issued four-match bans -- and Herrera, fired by Club America on Monday, was sanctioned with a further one-match suspension for continuing to communicate by walkie-talkie with his team from the stands.

As for Atuesta, LAFC's appeal of his red card was a non-starter, an outcome LAFC coach Bob Bradley expected.

"We're going to miss Edward and we feel bad for him," he said, "but our focus is still on just preparing for the game."

Bradley said preparing for the final overshadowed any considerations about what happened late Saturday night in Orlando.

"It's just an excitement level for being in a final," he said, "for showing people how we play football and for competing against a great team."

Bradley said the goal was to show what LAFC, in its third season, is all about:

"Our preparation, our commitment to the way we play, our willingness to go on the field and play, to be a brave team that plays football, that pushes forward, that takes chances and plays a fast tempo. This is what we're about. And so that's the only thing that anybody's really thinking about and talking about at the moment."

After Saturday's win, Bradley said reaching the final was a reward for overcoming all the challenges his players faced, not only in the 90 minutes against America, but in all of 2020.

“We don’t talk about it a lot," he said, "but certainly [with] the start/stop part of MLS this year [and] the fact we were missing guys at different times, there were a lot of challenges -- for all teams. And I was hard on myself because I don’t think we did as good a job as some other teams of handling all the different challenges that came with the season.”

1 comment about "CCL final: LAFC relishes chance to show off what it's all about".
  1. Wooden Ships, December 23, 2020 at 12:19 a.m.

    Not sure why LAFC even showed up. A better team, better club saw the course. They needed a fired up manager in touch to call em out. MLS, still posing. 

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