The BMO Stadium was lit on Sunday, June 4, as two giants in North American club football, Leon and Los Angeles FC, locked horns to decide the winner of the 2023 CONCACAF Champions League trophy.
The CONCACAF Champions League final is a two-legged home and away clash between two teams that have sailed through to the climax of the competition.
MLS Champions, Los Angeles FC, went into the game on a disadvantage having lost the first leg to the Mexican giants in Mexico.
However, with a sea of MLS fans trouping into the BMO Stadium to attend the match, overturning a narrow 2-1 deficit was not expected to be a difficult task for the Falcons.
They could also dragged the game into shootouts with just a goal to offset the deficit.
The Mexican side were aiming for their first CONCACAF Champions League trophy. They finished as runners-up in 1993. Los Angeles FC were also bidding for the trophy for the first time in their history.
In 2020, the MLS giants came close to winning it but ended up losing to another Mexican side, Tigre.
It would have been a double success hit for the Falcons had they won the trophy.
They would have added the coveted club trophy in North America to their shelf while also avenging the loss to a Mexican side.
Over 22,000 Los Angeles supporters thronged into the splendid football theatre in Los Angeles, awaiting the rollercoaster clash.
The fans heavily influenced proceedings in the game as they roared on Los Angeles FC, who were on top of their game as the match kicked off.
Leon players sat deep initially as the host mounted the pressure, looking for an early goal to level the agrgegate scoreline.
Los Angeles came close to an opener after the visitors conceded a freekick. Carlo Vela yanked the freekick straight on the head of Aaron Long who only had the goal and the goalkeeper to beat but ended up heading wide off the post.
The hosts paid dearly for Long’s miss 10 minutes after the attempt. Leon’s first serious charge in the opposition’s half in the 20th minute resulted in a goal, which turned out to be the match winner.
Argentina forward Lucas Di Yorio put the visitors in the lead, stroking a shot pass Los Angeles goalkeeper John McCarthy.
Leon’s Moreno was freed up on the wings before he charged forward and crossed the ball to Yorio, who then scrambled an untidy strike pass McCarthy.
It was a nightmare goal for the hosts as they now had to hustle three straight goals to cut the deficit and grab a win.
Di Yorio’s strike spurred up the visitors as they immediately began to make bold attacking attempts on Los Angeles’ half.
The visitors nearly doubled the lead before Los Angeles wrestle back control and began making inroads on the attack.
The hosts had a number of chances to restore comeback hopes but squandered them with high-flung shots, whistling pass the target.
Dennis Bouanga fired a long range thunderbolt early in the first half and also had his deflected freekick saved by Leon goalkeeper, Rodolfo Cota.
In the second half, Los Angeles FC ramp up the attack as they aimed for a lifeline goal, all to no avail.
The closing minutes saw the visitors pack up in their half as Los Angeles pressed with force. Bouanga again attempted a late strike on goal but hit the side of the net.
Leon held off the late pressure to complete a CONCACAF Champions League Final double over Los Angeles FC.
After missing out on the 1993 final, the Mexican club clinched the coveted club trophy with a 3-1 agrgegate win over Los Angeles.
Los Angeles FC have now lost two finals to a Mexican club, extending their wait for the continental crown.