LAFC vs Houston Dynamo – December 2, 2023
With 2-0 victory the Black and Gold have advanced to the 2023 MLS Cup after the LAFC vs Houston Dynamo win at BMO Stadium for the Western Conference Final. LAFC has now clinched the MLS Cup for the second consecutive season thanks to Ryan Hollinsghead’s goal in the first half followed by Dynamo’s Franco Escobar’s own goal in the second.
In the 44th minute of the match, Carlos Vela’s corner kick connected with Giorgio Chiellini on a header that was blocked by Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark. Clark ended up ricocheting the ball toward Hollinghead for the simple tap in to bring the Black and Gold up on the scoreboard 1-0.
The score would stay static for a majority of the second half until Escobar deflected Diego Palacios’ cross in the 80th minute. On the play, it seemed as if 2023 MLS Golden Boot winner Dénis Bouanga was about to score his MLS-record tying 38th goal this year, but the winger passed the ball to Palacios who shot a slow cross into the middle. Escobar, surrounded by orange jerseys, made the worst gaff possible for his squad.
Wrong place, wrong time, wrong play. Escobar slid into the ball which found the back of the net, doubling LAFC’s lead to 2-0. As BMO Stadium continued to roar, the clock ticked down in what became the 2023 MLS Cup clincher for the Black and Gold. LAFC is now the tenth club in MLS history to clinch the MLS Cup in back to back seasons.
LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau recorded another clean sheet for his third in a row. With five saves throughout the match, Crépeau and the LAFC defense have not given up a goal in 367 minutes of play, dating back to October 28 when they faced the Vancouver Whitecaps. During that span, Crépeau has made 17 saves.
LAFC have a chance to become the first team in over ten years to win back to back MLS Cup championships, and the second club in Los Angeles to do so as the hometown rivals LA Galaxy won in 2011 and 2012. Only two other teams have achieved such a feat — the Houston Dynamo in 2006 and 2007, and D.C. United in 1996 and 1997.
The 2023 MLS Cup will take place at Lower.com Field in Ohio on Saturday, December 9. LAFC will match up against Columbus Crew, and currently hold a 3-0-0 record against the other MLS club nicknamed The Black and Gold.