Black & Gold Reflects On Historic Season

LAFC’s legacy of success was enriched and reinforced during a season unlike any other in Major League Soccer history


LAFC’s 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew in Saturday’s MLS Cup Final marked the end of a nine-month odyssey that no other club in Major League Soccer has endured or even attempted over the league’s 27-year existence. The Black & Gold played an MLS-record 53 total games across all competitions in 2023 and appeared in three different finals. 

The six-year-old club did more than endure 2023, though. LAFC thrived, despite the year’s many challenges.

The Black & Gold repeated as Western Conference champions and secured the first two postseason road victories in Club history (at Vancouver Nov. 5 and in Seattle Nov. 26). LAFC’s victory in MLS Cup 2022 earned the club a showdown with Liga MX superpower Tigres UANL in Campeones Cup on September 27 of this year, a trophy match of razor-thin margins that the reigning Mexican champions won in a penalty-kick shootout.

Forward Dénis Bouanga, in his first full season with LAFC, won Major League Soccer’s Golden Boot award by leading the league with 20 goals scored. The French-born Gabon international scored 38 goals across all competitions in 2023, tying the MLS record that his teammate Carlos Vela set back in 2019. Bouanga scored seven of those goals in Concacaf Champions League (now Champions Cup), winning that competition’s Golden Boot as LAFC advanced to the final against Club León, falling in two one-goal results, over two legs.

“The season was a success for us regardless of the result tonight,” head coach Steve Cherundolo said after Saturday’s defeat in rainy Columbus. “I don’t think any other team has done what we have done …

“The disappointment sits deep for now. But I think we‘re all looking forward to a little time off, regrouping, and then giving this another go next year.”

“We fought for a lot of trophies … ” defender Giorgio Chiellini added. “The club, this organization has to be proud and is proud of what we have done this season … We gave 100 percent every time.

“It was a fantastic journey that will remain in our mind and in our heart and … will remain there for all our lives.”

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