Kwadwo Opuko’s second half strike helped Los Angeles FC rally from an early 1-0 deficit to claim a 2-1 victory over Cruz Azul of Mexico in the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday night at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
The victory sends LAFC to their first ever SCCL semifinal, where they will face seven-time Concacaf champions Club America of Mexico.
It was a scintillating start from both sides and LAFC was whisker away from taking the lead in the 9’ when a Diego Rossi shot rang off the crossbar.
Cruz Azul would be the ones to break the deadlock in the 15’, with Yoshimar Yotun converting a penalty kick after Orbelin Pineda had been fouled in the penalty area, giving the Liga MX side a 1-0 advantage.
LAFC would respond, though, to pull even 1-1 in the 38’, with Carlos Vela also converting a penalty a minute after being fouled in the Cruz Azul area.
It was all there for the taking for both sides to start the second half, but instead, both defenses tightened up, making for a cagey final half-hour.
LAFC continued to poke and prod and grabbed their first lead of the match in the 72’ when a corner kick deflected out to Opuko, who hammered a left-footed shot into net for a 2-1 LAFC lead.
Cruz Azul committed numbers forward in hopes of scoring an equalizing goal, but the LAFC defense stood firm until the final whistle to keep the MLS team’s SCCL dream alive.