Thursday will be a special night at Banc of California Stadium. Wherever you find yourself watching this match, take it all in.
The Banc will host its first Concacaf Champions League match. A reported 1,000 León supporters are expected in the building. With them comes an atmosphere likely never seen before. Not even in Galaxy matches. They'll be met by a backdrop of Black & Gold Supporters and the sights and sounds of the 3252.
On the pitch, LAFC faces León with passage to the CCL quarterfinals on the line. A two-goal deficit awaits LAFC.
Right now, there's an apprehension you feel. It’s a dissonance between your loyalty and your gut. It’s ok. That’s what makes football. In the toughest moments, faced with the challenges and the pressure, the best players and best teams thrive.
It's going to be a special night at Banc of California Stadium. Embrace it all. And maybe we'll have a story to tell when it's all said and done.
Here's the preview of the home leg of LAFC's CCL Round of 16 clash with León:
Concacaf Champions League | LAFC vs León | Feb. 27 at 7pm PT
Where To Watch
TV: FS1, TUDN
Following its 2-0 at home in the CCL against LAFC, León got things back on track in Liga MX. Nacho Ambriz's team defeated Necaxa 2-1 to move into the second spot in the Liga MX Clausura table. Jean Meneses scored both goals for La Fiera after scoring the opener in the match with LAFC in midweek.
What The Team Is Saying
Jordan Harvey on the mindset the team has to have going into the home match: "At home, we're confident. I think it's just about cleaning up some of the mistakes. It's a difficult place to play [León]. You watch the game and we're disappointed in not just the scoreline but some of the characteristics that seeped in. We're trying to iron those out. But really, just go for it. It's 2-0, we have to score some goals. They know that. So, it will be an exciting game."
Bob Bradley on learning from mistakes: "For sure. it would have helped to keep the score at 1-0. We understood going in - two legs, 180 minutes - but we made a mistake. Sometimes this happens in football. Good teams learn from mistakes. Good teams respond after they make mistakes. And we have our chance in the second leg."
What To Watch For
Raising Levels: In fitness. In sharpness. In familiarity. You name it. Even after just one competitive match, expect the LAFC team on the pitch to look like it's taken it up another level. That's what match minutes can do for a team. Which in some ways makes it all the more impressive how LAFC tried to push the match in Mexico. But now that they're at home with the LAFC Supporters behind them, it's going to be cranked up and we'll start to see longer stretches in which the team looks like itself again.
From The Opening Whistle: Bob Bradley didn't run from it. His team needs to get the first goal to put the pressure on León. But keep in mind, the visitors are happy to let opponents come forward and leave space behind. It will be about balancing moments for LAFC. You want to be aggressive going forward and put León up against it but not at the expense of conceding an away goal. How LAFC balances those two things will be the key dynamic on the night.
An Atmosphere Unlike Any Other: We've seen international friendlies at Banc of California Stadium. We've had derbies and we've had playoff matches. We've even had playoff derbies. But nothing will compare to an international match with passage to the next round of the Concacaf Champions League on the line. The away match in León was breathtaking from a crowd perspective. The traveling LAFC Supporters brought an atmosphere León fans hadn't experienced in quite some time. Now it's LAFC's turn to host León's supporters and show what they can bring to a match. Get there early. You won't want to miss a minute of it.