Cristian ‘Chico’ Arango scored in the third minute of second-half stoppage time and the Los Angeles Football Club advanced to the Western Conference final in the MLS Cup playoffs on Thursday night with a 3-2 victory over rival LA Galaxy in the latest dramatic edition of the rivalry known as El Tráfico.
Kellyn Acosta directed a corner kick toward the middle of the box. Denis Bouanga, who scored twice, fired a shot that Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond saved, but Arango was there for the rebound and scored in the 93rd minute.
LAFC, which captured the league’s Supporter’s Shield as the top team during the regular season, will host the winner of Austin FC and FC Dallas on 30 October for the right to advance to MLS Cup on 5 November.
Bouanga has three goals in eight games since signing from France Ligue 2 club Saint-Etienne,
Samuel Grandsir and Dejan Joveljic scored for the Galaxy.
Bouanga scored the match’s first goal in the 23rd minute when he got the pass from Carlos Vela, outbodied Galaxy midfielder Diego Costa from six yards out with a strike into the far right corner of the net.
The goal came at the end of a 19-pass sequence. The forward ran near the corner and did a front flip to celebrate the score.
The Galaxy evened it by taking advantage of a turnover. LAFC’s Eddie Segura was unable to clear the ball out of box with a header, before Grandsir grabbed the rebound and fired a right-footed shot from near the back of the box into the bottom left corner of the net.
It was Grandsir’s third goal in six matches against LAFC and second this season.
Bouanga put LAFC ahead in the 80th minute when he tucked it into the near post. Kwadwo Opoku was unable to finish after sliding to get the crossing pass, but Bounanga was there to knock it in after Bond originally tried to stop Opoku.
The Galaxy leveled it at 2-2 five minutes later when Joveljic, who came on as a sub in the 84th minute, fired a rocket past Maxime Crépeau into the top right corner.
LAFC had a 14-11 advantage in shots and 5-4 lead in shots on goal. Bond and Crépeau each made two saves.
Philadelphia Union 1-0 FC Cincinnati
Leon Flach scored his first goal of the season on Thursday night in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, and the top-seeded Philadelphia Union beat fifth-seeded Cincinnati 1-0.
Philadelphia, who are unbeaten at Subaru Park this year (13-0-5), will face the winner of Sunday’s New York City FC-Montreal match in the conference finals.
Flach scored in the 59th minute. Mikael Uhre beat two defenders to a loose ball in front of the net and sent it to the penalty spot for Flach’s one-touch finish.
Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake recorded his 16th clean sheet of the season. Blake made five saves, including a diving stop of Brandon Vazquez’s breakaway shot in the 83rd.
Cincinnati, coming off a win over the New York Red Bulls, were seeking to become the third expansion team in MLS history to advance in its first two postseason rounds.