Los Angeles Football Club has aspirations of winning MLS Cup this year after having an historically dominant regular season in 2019. Before that happens, the team is trying to pull off quite the accomplishment in their quest for continental dominance, as they’re playing host to Mexican side León in the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday night.
León won the first leg of the tie, 2-0, and LAFC is facing an uphill battle to advance to the next round of the tournament. Before the match kicked off, though, basketball was briefly in the spotlight, as the club’s supporters raised a tifo to pay tribute to a pair of Angelenos who passed away last month.
With the worlds of sports and entertainment still mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and several others in a helicopter crash in California at the end of January, members of The 3252 created a tifo to celebrate the Lakers legend and his daughter. It was raised right before the two teams walked onto the pitch at Banc of California Stadium.
It wasn’t the only Kobe tribute on the evening, as LAFC captain Carlos Vela wore “KB,” the numbers 8 and 24, and the names of all those who passed away in the crash on his armband.
And because sports have a funny way of making these sorts of things happen, Vela, the reigning MLS MVP and a well-documented basketball fan, scored LAFC’s opening goal on the evening.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 28, 2020
Regardless of the outcome of Thursday’s match, LAFC will begin its 2020 MLS campaign on Sunday against league newcomers Inter Miami CF.