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2023 CONCACAF Champions League Semi-Finals Preview

The 2023 CONCACAF Champions League has reached the business end of the campaign, with only four teams left in the race for a coveted continental trophy. 

Los Angeles FC and Philadelphia Union go head-to-head in an all-Major League Soccer semi-final on one side, while Club Leon and Tigres UANL face off in an all-Liga MX semi-final on the other.

These mouth-watering match-ups mean the CONCACAF Champions League final will feature sides from the two most prominent North American divisions for the fourth time in the past six years. 

Reigning champions Seattle Sounders made history last season by becoming the first-ever MLS side to conquer the competition following a ruthless 16-year dominance imposed by Mexican clubs. 

While the Sounders are no longer in the title mix, LAFC and Philadelphia are tasked with maintaining their legacy after last year’s MLS Cup finalists took the continental tournament by storm this term.

The star-studded Tigres, led by Andre-Pierre Gignac and Real Betis loanee Diego Lainez, are seeking their fourth appearance in the grand final against fellow Liga MX rivals Leon. 

With Gignac and Lainez on one side and ex-Arsenal forward Joel Campbell and Victor Davila on the other, the all-Mexican semi-final tie promises to be a treat for neutrals. 

CONCACAF Champions League Semi-Final Schedule

The semi-finals begin on Tuesday, April 25, at 10:00 pm EST, in an all-Mexican matchup between Tigres and Leon.

LAFC will then travel to Chester, Pennsylvania, to take on the Union at Subaru Park on Wednesday, April 26, with this game starting at 09:00 pm EST. 

The second leg of both ties will take place on May 2/3 – both games kick off at 10:00 pm.

How To Watch

The games are viewable in North America through the following channels:

CanadaOne Soccer, YouTube
MexicoFOX Sports, FOX Sports 2, FOX Sports 3, FOX Sports Premium
United StatesFOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, FOX Soccer Plus

You can also stream both games live online regardless of where you are in the world. 

LAFC vs Philadelphia Union 

The question remains, which team will represent MLS in the final?

The upcoming match between LAFC and Philadelphia promises to be a nail-biting encounter, with two teams having distinctive identities and gameplay styles that reflect their respective communities and coaches. 

When LAFC toppled Philadelphia in last season’s MLS Cup final, Steve Cherundolo’s men had Gareth Bale’s late heroics to thank for taking the game to penalties, where they edged Jim Curtin’s side to their maiden title.

However, the Welshman retired after the 2022 World Cup, so LAFC will turn to ex-Saint-Etienne star Denis Bouanga and long-serving stalwart Carlos Vela to deliver the goods.

As the most prolific team in this season’s CONCACAF Champions League, they come into proceedings as favourites to slice through this two-legged tie.

Philadelphia may not mind entering this tie as outsiders following a patchy four-match form (W1, D2, L1) as they seek revenge for last season’s MLS Cup heartbreak.

But since they’ve never won a match against LAFC across five previous attempts (D3, L2), they must overcome a huge mental barrier to carry the MLS banner in the final. 

What makes this showdown even more intriguing is that it will be played over two legs, with the away-goals rule in effect, adding an extra layer of complexity to the equation.

Tigres UANL vs Club Leon

While Tigres last tasted continental glory as early as 2020, Leon’s quest for their first-ever success in the tournament will make them a formidable opponent despite an underwhelming run of form. 

Nicolas Larcamon’s men have gone winless in their last four competitive matches (D2, L2), failing to score on three occasions, and seem to have already relinquished their Liga MX title hopes. 

But Leon made a statement of intent in the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals, brushing Violette AC aside with an overwhelming 6-2 aggregate triumph.

That’s not the only source of confidence for the eight-time Clausura champions.

They’ve defeated Tigres twice in their last three meetings (L1), including a 1-0 win on the road in their most recent clash in September 2022.

However, Robert Siboldi’s lads can always rely on their vast continental experience, having featured in two CONCACAF Champions League title deciders in the past four years. 

Like Leon, Tigres’ bid to win the domestic championship has dwindled on the back of a lacklustre start, making their continental run-in all the more significant. 

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