Los Angeles FC placed one foot into the Concacaf Champions League semifinals after breezing by Canadian Championship winners Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night at BC Place.
Denis Bouanga continued his impressive goalscoring form in the tournament, scoring a brace in a 3-0 first leg victory. Kwadwo Opoku also found the back of the net for LAFC while goalkeeper John McCarthy registered a two-save clean sheet.
After a goal-less first half, LAFC kicked the door down with Bouanga breaking the deadlock in the 55th minute. Bouanga’s top-shelf finish off of a Carlos Vela assist propelled LAFC in front 1-0 and set the tone for a dominant second-half performance.
Bouanga then played distributor on LAFC’s second goal of the match, setting up Kwadwo Opoku for his first-career CCL goal in the 61st. Opoku’s low drive nestled into the bottom-left corner, giving LAFC some breathing room with a two-goal advantage.
Timothy Tillman connected with Bouanga on LAFC’s third and final goal of the match as the Saudi Arabian rifled a left-footed shot into the top-left corner.
Steve Cherundolo’s squad would hang on for a convincing result ahead of next week’s second leg at BMO Stadium.
CD Motagua 0, Tigres 1
Liga MX side Tigres also finished Wednesday night on the winning side of things after a 1-0 first leg road win over Honduran side CD Motagua.
Nicolas Lopez and Walter Martinez had early offensive looks for their clubs in the first half, but neither could propel their teams in front. Andre-Pierre Gignac’s close-range attempt in the 35th minute was denied by Marlon Licona in the 37th minute as Tigres upped its pressure in the final third.
Luis Quinones would deliver the eventual winning goal for Tigres in the 44th minute, roofing a right-footed shot into the top of Licona’s net following an error from the veteran shot-stopper. Licona tried to punch away Tigres’ corner kick, but his effort stayed in the box as Quinones one-timed a shot into the top corner.
Tigres had four additional attempts saved by Licona in the second half as it tried to pad its aggregate lead heading back home for next week’s second leg. However, Licona finished with seven saves to keep Motagua in the tie despite his first-half error.
Both clubs resume league play this weekend before facing off in Mexico next week.