Preview — It has finally arrived. A day 3252 have long awaited. For the first time ever, LAFC are in a Finals match, up against a strong Tigres side in the SCCL Finals. In a year filled with inconsistency, injuries, COVID-19 and social unrest, it’s been refreshing to see the LAFC we’ve all grown used to these last couple of matches.
However, for as good as Los Angeles has been, Tigres has been just as good — if not better at times — throughout the tournament.
SCCL Finals: LAFC Look to Make History With First Trophy
Both sides come into this match motivated, with plenty to prove. For LAFC, it’s the obvious. Become the first MLS team, in the Champions League Era, to lift the trophy. Winning the Champions League would also make them the first MLS side ever to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup. However, for Tigres, the stakes are much higher with pressure mounting.
Reaching the SCCL Finals is nothing new for Tigres. The Mexican side has reached the Finals match in four of the last five years, coming up short each time. However, they are the only other side to have looked as impressive as LAFC. They have won their last two matches by a combined 7-0, allowing just six shots on target throughout. Unlike their MLS counterparts, Tigres don’t feel the need to dictate the pace of a match. They are just as comfortable allowing the opposition think they have control of the match before going on the counter.
Wingers Luis Quiñones and Javier Aquino will be the focal points of the Tigres attack, using their methodical methods to control the middle of the pitch, where they are most comfortable. Breaking down the defense won’t be easy for the black and gold. That task is even tougher by Tigres ability to absolutely dominate possession for a match.
🏆 #SCCL2020 MATCHDAY 🏆
— LAFC (@LAFC) December 22, 2020
Keys For LAFC
Midfield, midfield, midfield.
It has been the story all season, and as last match proved, sloppy midfield play is disastrous for Los Angeles. However, they will have to be without their best option in the midfield, as Eduard Atuesta will be out for the match, due his suspension as a result of his controversial — and unwarranted — red card. Adversity is nothing new to this year’s LAFC, and it’s a bit poetic that they’d have to overcome one last obstacle before being crowned champions.
Carlos Vela has already done everything in his power to get LAFC to the Finals match, but now he will be asked to do even more. With Atuesta missing, even more weight falls on his shoulders to ensure the Los Angeles attacks continues to threaten. While the focus is on Carlos Vela going up against André Gignac, it could be the likes of Diego Rossi and Brian Rodriguez who will need to make the biggest impact for LAFC lift the trophy.
— Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League (@TheChampions) December 21, 2020
The Last Word
This is the match LAFC have been waiting for. A Finals. Granted, many would have preferred an MLS Cup Finals appearance in 2020, reaching the SCCL Finals, even in the year we’ve had, is nothing to scoff at. In many ways, this was the first year for a level playing field. MLS teams aren’t in the middle of a pre-season, working towards form and fitness. Both sides come in looking to overcome history, looking to quell the demons that have crept into the psyches. Tigres looking to shake the second-best status, while LAFC are looking to prove not just MLS, but they specifically, belong on the world’s stage.
I’m a strong proponent of title games not needing to be hyped up. It’s a championship game, if you can’t get up for that, they you have no hope.
— Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League (@TheChampions) December 20, 2020