LAFC seek to become back-to-back MLS Cup Champions after dispatching Houston Dynamo 2-0 in Western Conference Finals – NBC Southern California

“To be the champ, you’ve got to beat the champ,” former Mixed Martial Artists Mark Hunt once said.

That will now be the task for the Columbus Crew after reigning Champions LAFC secured a 2-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo during the Western Conference Final on Saturday night in Los Angeles.

Columbus will host the MLS Cup Final next Saturday after rallying from a two-goal deficit against Supporter’s Shield winners FC Cincinnati in extra time earlier in the day.

LAFC, who won the MLS Cup in thrilling fashion over the Philadelphia Union last November, will seek to become the first team to win back-to-back championships since the LA Galaxy did in 2011 and 2012. DC United was the first team to accomplish the feat during the league’s first two years in existence in 1996 and 1997. LAFC will look to join that exclusive list, as the fourth team in history to win back-to-back titles.

Meanwhile, Columbus will be playing in their fourth MLS Cup Final in history after winning the championship in 2008 and 2020.

Similar to their semifinal match in Seattle last Sunday, LAFC scored first and held on for dear life to stave off elimination and remain the reigning champions. As he did in Seattle, LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau made a handful of sensational saves to keep a clean sheet.

The first half was all black and gold, as the reigning MLS champions dominated with nine shots on goal. LAFC thought they had a goal several times in the first 45, but the referee raised the flag, whistling for offsides on three separate occasions.

But LAFC finally broke through in the 44th minute when Carlos Vela’s corner kick was placed on-goal by defender Giorgio Chiellini. Dynamo keeper Steve Clark made the save, but the rebound went right to Ryan Hollingshead who tapped it into the open net for the game’s first goal.

LAFC received some extra insurance courtesy of an own-goal in the 80th minute by Dynamo defender, and former LA player, Franco Escobar. Diego Palacios sent a cross into the box that was deflected into his own net by Escobar.

The Dynamo dominated possession 72 percent to LAFC’s 28 percent. They had five shots on goal, and over 500 total passes with a whopping 88 percent accuracy. However, it was not enough for Houston who despite their brilliant effort, suffered the same fate as all of LAFC’s opponents before them.

The MLS Cup Final will be a reunion between Crew forward Diego Rossi and his former club. Rossi joined LAFC during their inaugural season in 2018, and was with the team through the 2021 season, missing out on the Cup run in 2022.

The MLS Cup final could also mark the final game for LAFC captain Carlos Vela with the black and gold. Vela’s contract is set to end after the season, and has not signed an extension.

LAFC will now travel to Columbus, Ohio next Saturday, where one team will raise the MLS Cup trophy again. Kickoff starts at 1:00PM PT on Apple TV and FOX.

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Mark Evans

Hey there, I'm Mark Evans, a student at The King's University in Edmonton. I'm passionate about fitness and gaming, and I love writing about both. You can usually find me pounding away on my keyboard, crafting blog articles for various websites and news outlets. I've been interested in fitness for as long as I can remember, and I've always loved trying out new workouts and experimenting with different diets. On the gaming side of things, I'm a huge fan of all kinds of games, from action-packed shooters to immersive RPGs. When I'm not hitting the gym or diving into a new game, I love spending time with my friends and family, exploring the city, and trying out new restaurants. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and I hope you enjoy my articles as much as I enjoy writing them!

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