Tigres UANL Defeated LAFC 2-1 in 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Final
While the hope of an MLS team winning the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Final was dashed when Tigres UANL Defeated LAFC 2-1, congratulations should go to the LA team for earning their place in the coveted final. This was the 15th year in a row that a Mexican team won the competition.
Tigres’ Andre-Pierre Gignac fired in a late strike earning his team their first Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League title with a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles FC in the 2020 Final on Tuesday night at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
A tough match from all perspectives, the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Final was the culmination of a long road.
It was a final that had all the makings of a world cup match. On the side of Major League Soccer, you had a Cinderella team in LAFC that, despite playing just three seasons, made history by knocking out not one, not two, but three of the most popular Liga MX teams (ClubLeón, Cruz Azul and Club América) on their way to the championship match. LAFC had to true grit in coming back after trailing against all three of their opponents including being a man down in the first half against Club América in the semifinal.
On the other side, you had Tigres UANL, who entered the match as favorites and have earned the nickname “Team of the Decade,” for their five Liga MX titles over the last 10 years. Led by one of the greatest coaches in the history of Mexican soccer, Ricardo El Tuca Ferretti, Tigres had a much easier time reaching the final by walloping their previous two opponents (NYCFC and CD Olimpia) by a combined 8-0 aggregate.
There was an intense pace from the very start, with both teams looking to pressure the opposing defense into an error.
The final was a test both physically and mentally for both squads as their aggressive play early on set the tone for most of the match with referee Mario Escobar preferring to keep the yellow cards in his pocket and decided to go with unheeded verbal warnings throughout.
The first play of significance arrived in the 17th minute when LAFC midfielder Latif Blessing was taken down in the box by Tigres player Luis Alfonso Rodríguez. Blessing had been beaten on the play, but no penalty kick was issued.
LAFC only grew stronger controlling the tempo of the game throughout the remainder of the first half leaving little work to do from their goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer. The first half was a scoreless event but the drama intensified.
Tigres looked to take control at the start of the second half and Gignac had a good crack in the 49’ but saw his shot curl wide. Back came LAFC the other way through Carlos Vela in the 55, only for his lofted shot to float wide.
The the breakthrough happened. LAFC would finally take advantage in the 61st when midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye sent a perfect pass into the box that found striker Diego Rossi who sprinted through the Tigres defenders to lob the ball just over the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán.
At that moment, LAFC was ahead in the final and the Tigres had to mount a comeback to beat the MLS squad and claim the title of champ.
Tigres’ Hugo Ayala equalized a quick 11 minutes after with a header in a set piece off a corner kick, just out of reach of LAFC goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer. Then, in the 84th minute, Tigres’ Andre-Pierre Gignac found the back of the net to kick LAFC to the curb and hoist the trophy with his team..
With the victory of the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Final, Tigres have qualified for next February’s 2020 FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar.
“We had tried three previous times to win it, but we were unable to.”Ricardo Ferretti, Tigres UANL head coach
“There was a lot of unpleasant criticism thrown at the team, but I think today the team put all that to rest,” said Tigres UANL head coach Ricardo Ferretti. “The team showed lots of character being able to come back after giving up the goal.”
“We played some really good futbol in some of these games”Bob Bradley, LAFC Head Coach
“Our team is growing,” said LAFC head coach Bob Bradley. “I thought the response to prepare for champions league was great. Anyone who watches us can judge what our futbol is all about as a club and how we compete.”
Concacaf extended its gratitude to the City of Orlando, Exploria Stadium, Orlando City SC, and the Greater Orlando Sports Commission for a successful finish to the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.
“We are very grateful to Orlando City SC, the Orlando Sports Commission and the Mayor’s Office for supporting Concacaf to deliver the final matches of our 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League,” said Concacaf General Secretary Philippe Moggio. “The facilities at Exploria Stadium are first class and all the city’s stakeholders have assisted us in organizing this competition safely, and in a manner that has allowed the teams to showcase some great football to fans across the region. We have seen what a great city this is and on behalf of everyone at Concacaf and the participating clubs, thank you, Orlando.”
“We are so pleased that our community could play a role in the safe return and conclusion of the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League tournament,” said Jason Siegel, President & CEO of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission. “From the operations team at Orlando City SC and Exploria Stadium to our tourism partners and local leaders, the ease with which our region works together to support events is second to none. We appreciate Concacaf’s trust in Orlando, and we look forward to working with them again in the very near future.”