On Thursday night, LAFC hosted Club Leon in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie in the CCL. Here are three things we learned from the 3-0 victory.
In one of the best performances of any Major League Soccer team in CONCACAF Champions League history, Los Angeles FC came from two goals down to stun Mexican side Club Leon and earn their place in the quarter-finals with a 3-2 aggregate scoreline.
Carlos Vela, of course, scored twice, Diego Rossi added a late winner, while the likes of Eduard Atuesta, Latif Blessing and the entire backline were superb as the Black and Gold suffocated their Mexican opponents with some superb, speedy, ferocious passing and a tremendous high press.
Here are three things we learned from the remarkable 3-0 victory.
3. Let’s talk about the referees
Look, I never like to talk about referees after matches. They make mistakes, yes, sometimes high-profile ones, but everyone makes mistakes. However, on this occasion, the referee completely lost control of the match, not because of one or two errors here and there, but complete and utter inability to first judge decisions correctly and then control the players.
The criminal errors were plentiful. Diego Rossi was wrongly adjudged to be offside in the first half prior to Carlos Vela’s disallowed goal. Then Mark-Anthony Kaye, who was already on a yellow card at the time, should have been sent off for a tackle that could have been a straight red and certainly should have been a yellow.
And then, in the second half, the referee entirely lost control of the game. For a 20-minute period after half-time, almost every decision was wrong, allowing tackles that were clear fouls, punishing other challenges that were not as reckless. Players started to referee the game themselves, lunging into increasingly physical tackles, and they lost all respect for the referee. For a ‘professional’ football game, it is unacceptable.