LOS ANGELES — Steve Cherundolo stood there with his hands in his pockets.
Ilie Sánchez had his on his waist while Giorgio Chiellini crossed his arms. Those were the select few LAFC players that stayed on the field as a sign of respect as Tigres UANL was awarded the Campeones Cup trophy after a win over the reigning MLS Cup champs in a 4-2 penalty kick shootout.
Yellow, blue and white confetti filled the air as Cherundolo and Co. stormed off the field to the sounds of Queen’s “We Are The Champions” echoing through the speakers at BMO Stadium.
For those keeping count, that’s two Liga MX opponents that have lifted trophies in L.A. in the span of about four months.
When the Black and Gold lost the CONCACAF Champions League Final to Club León in June, it was a much different feeling. They were outplayed in both legs and let an opportunity the organization prioritized as the main objective slip.
Wednesday’s loss was a bit less serious in a single-game final that pits the champs from both leagues against each other. And LAFC didn’t no-show as they had in the prior instance. It was a heated match that saw a pair of red cards, an oddly disallowed goal from Denis Bouanga and had to be decided in a shootout.
“We didn’t plan for penalties, we planned on winning it in 90 minutes,” said LAFC defender Ryan Hollingshead, who had his PK blocked.
Cherundolo interestingly decided to sub his starting goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau out for John McCarthy right before the end of regulation as a strategy for the decisive kicks. It was reminiscent of MLS Cup when McCarthy had to step in after Crépeau broke his leg in extra time and ended up being the hero and MVP.
If this would’ve worked, Cherundolo gets all the applause. It didn’t, however, as Tigres buried all their penalties and keeper Nahuel Guzmán stopped a pair to put it out of reach.
Jesús Angulo buried the winner to the delight of the many supporters in yellow that made themselves felt in every corner of the stadium.
“It’s s***, man. It’s f***ing atrocious,” Crépeau told Yahoo Sports about watching another team celebrate on LAFC’s field. “You don’t want to lose, especially this way at home.”