With the CONCACAF Champions League trophy and a berth to the Club World Cup on the line, the last MLS team standing fell for the fourth time, as LAFC lost their second half lead, conceding twice in the final 20 minutes to lose 2-1 at Exploria Stadium on Tuesday night.
In a match that saw 40 fouls committed with no cards, it was a very physical contest throughout. LA were the better team through the first 60+ minutes, but once Tigres conceded, they seemed to wake up and hit a second gear, dominating the final 20 minutes.
After getting some good chances through the first half, it wasn’t until the 61st minute that the first goal of the match was scored. Diego Rossi finished the chance after Mark-Anthony Kaye chipped a ball into the box for Rossi to also chip the goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán.
After that moment, Tigres started to create more chances. After a mistake by LAFC and goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer gifted the Mexican side a corner, centerback Hugo Ayala managed to get his head on a Nicolás López cross to tie the game up.
The pressure by Tigres and the regression by LAFC’s level of play continued until it came to a head in the 84th minute, when Luis Rodríguez took on three LA defenders, cut inside and squared a pass off for André-Pierre Gignac to slot into the back of a net, past a helpless Vermeer that was rooted to the spot.
Tigres were able to hold on for the next six minutes plus stoppage to win their first Champions League trophy.
“It’s hard to get the thoughts, immediately. We’re very disappointed,” LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley said after the match. “Our team is growing, you know we we played some really good football in some of these games. I thought our way of going after the game tonight was was real good — some moments not our sharpest but still the mentality to play in a final and push the game. That’s important. So, we end in a really disappointing way.”
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