CONCACAF Champions League: Vela rallies LAFC over Leon; Sounders out
Carlos Vela scored two goals, and Diego Rossi added the stunning clincher as Los Angeles FC beat visiting Club Leon of Liga MX 3-0 on Thursday and advanced to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Liga MX team Leon had beaten LAFC 2-0 on Feb. 18 at home, but Vela & Co. surged to move on by winning 3-2 on aggregate.
He scored first in the 27th minute on a poor-angle redirection of a baseline pass by Diego Palacios. Then in the 77th minute, Vela one-timed a left-footed shot inside the near post after a diagonal ball from the outside by Rossi.
Just over two minutes later, Rossi did it himself, hitting a left footer from a poor angle on the left side that floated perfectly over keeper Rodolfo Cota, off the far post and in.
LAFC finished with a 22-7 advantage in shots, including 10-0 in on-target attempts, as goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer was not required to make a save.
Before the game, LAFC fans unveiled a giant banner honoring Kobe and Gianna Bryant. The "tifo," which was tall enough to cover the entire North End seating section at Banc of California stadium read "Kobe & Gigi Forever" and featured artwork of the former Los Angeles Lakers star and his daughter, who died in a helicopter crash Jan. 26.
At the CenturyLink Fiel, Honduran side Olimpia stunned the favored the Seattle Sounders to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
Carlos Pineda's cracking volley brought Olimpia level in the 86th minute, and they went on to victory in penalties to eliminate the MLS champions in the Round of 16.
After the sides drew 2-2 on Feb. 20 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Olimpia took the lead on aggregate with a goal in the fourth minute Thursday by Elvin Oliva. The Sounders responded with goals from Cristian Roldan in the 21st minute and Joao Paulo in the 64th minute to take the lead.
But Pineda ripped a right-footed volley from 25 yards out, one-timing the ball after a header near the top of the box and powering it into the left corner.
On penalties, both sides made their first two attempts before Roldan missed and Edwin Rodriguez scored for Olimpia. After Kelvin Leerdam's attempt was saved by Olimpia keeper Edrick Menjivar, the Honduran team advanced with Johnny Leveron's tally.