The 2023 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL) has concluded with Club Leon defeating Los Angeles in the Final, 3-1 on aggregate for their first CONCACAF title.
CONCACAF said there were many memorable moments over the course of the tournament, but there were five that stood out the most.
Violette becomes first Haitian SCCL quarterfinalist
Violette AC became the first Haitian club to win an SCCL match and also win an SCCL knockout round series when they eliminated Austin FC in the Round of 16, 3-2 on aggregate.
CONCACAF said the 2022 Flow Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship winners achieved a first ever Haitian win in the SCCL era when they topped Austin FC 3-0 in the first leg in the Dominican Republic.
The hero was FW Miche-Naider Chery, who scored two goals to put the MLS side on their heels. Austin FC would win the second leg at home 2-0, “but the defensive stand in the final minutes from Violette was enough to seal their passage to the quarterfinals and etch their names into the Haitian history books,” CONCACAF said.
Motagua makes history for Honduras
CONCACAF said there were many duels between teams from Honduras and Mexico in the SCCL era, but until the 2023 edition, no team from Honduras had ever eliminated a Mexican opponent in the knockout round.
“That changed in this year’s Round of 16 when Motagua eliminated five-time CONCACAF champions Pachuca, 1-1 on aggregate with Motagua’s away goal in the second leg 1-1 draw serving as the tiebreaker,” CONCACAF said.
“The decisive moment came with just minutes left on the clock in the second leg in Mexico, as Motagua earned a penalty and Eddie Hernandez calmly stroked home the spot kick to give Motagua their first ever SCCL knockout round victory,” it added.
LAFC first team from MLS to play in two SCCL finals
CONCACAF said last season’s SCCL was a banner one for MLS, as the Seattle Sounders became the first team to win the title in the SCCL and joined DC United and Los Angeles Galaxy as MLS teams to have been crowned CONCACAF champions.
Another accomplishment was added to the list in 2023 when Los Angeles FC became the first team from MLS to reach two SCCL Finals, CONCACAF said.
It said LAFC’s first appearance in the SCCL Final also came in their debut campaign in the tournament in 2020, as they defeated eliminated Liga MX sides Club Leon, Cruz Azul and Club America to reach the Final against Tigres.
“Three years later in just their second SCCL appearance, LAFC once again made it to the Final, amassing an impressive 4W-1D-1L record on their way to the Final against Club Leon,” CONCACAF said.
Club Leon reaches first final in SCCL era
Thirty years after reaching their first CONCACAF final in 1993, Club Leon made a triumphant return to the biggest stage in the region by qualifying for their first ever final in the SCCL era, CONCACAF said. It came in Club Leon’s fifth SCCL appearance.
After failing to advance past the group stage in 2014-15, Club Leon succumbed to MLS opponents in the Round of 16 in 2020 and 2021, CONCACAF said.
It said La Fiera won their first ever SCCL knockout round series in the 2022 edition before elimination in the quarterfinals.
“However, 2023 has been a different story, as they defeated Tauro FC of Panama in the Round of 16, Haitian upstarts Violette in the quarterfinals and fellow Liga MX side Tigres in the semifinals,” CONCACAF said.
“Club Leon then capped it off by becoming the fourth Mexican club to be CONCACAF champions when playing the second leg of the Final as the visiting team, and are just the second Mexican club to do it while recording a clean sheet in that second leg,” it added.
Di Yorio goal puts bow on Club Leon’s title pursuit
Going into the Final second leg on Sunday, CONCACAF said Club Leon held a one-goal advantage on aggregate, “but that quickly stretched to two thanks to a timely score from Lucas Di Yorio, whose knuckling shot got the better of LAFC GK John McCarthy.
“It was just the type of magical moment that embodied Club Leon’s title run,” CONCACAF said. “The play started with pressure in midfield forcing an LAFC turnover, allowing Fidel Ambriz to play down the right flank to Ivan Moreno, whose inch-perfect cross found Di Yorio for the goal.”
CONCACAF said Di Yorio is the fourth Argentine player to secure a CONCACAF Title for his club with a goal and the ninth Argentine to score in the second leg of a CONCACAF Final while playing for a Mexican club.