So many things happened during Saturday’s Concacaf Champions League semifinal between LAFC and Club América. A quick recap: América took the lead, LAFC had a man sent off before halftime, there were a bunch of scuffles, Carlos Vela flipped the game just after halftime with two quick goals, América had a man sent off late, LAFC scored very late to seal the win, and LAFC advanced to the CCL final. Somehow, that actually seems to undersell the wildness.
Rewind it back to the “bunch of scuffles” part of the night, and it turned out there was a scuffle between coaches at the halftime whistle.
What happened first?
As teams were walking off the field, in the aftermath of Eduard Atuesta’s red card — which came well away from the ball and seemed to come out of nowhere — pretty much everyone on both teams were jawing at each other and the officials as they headed for the locker rooms.
¡Se pelean!— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) December 20, 2020
Concluye la primera parte y una vez más jugadores de @LAFC y @ClubAmerica discuten entre ellos y hasta los suplentes están involucrados pic.twitter.com/EnCsC26dd6
We didn’t see what happened in the moment, so the mystery deepened as the second half was set to begin.
Why was the 2nd half kickoff delayed?
América manager Miguel Herrera was standing in his usual spot in the sideline to begin the 2nd half, and was politely told by Concacaf officials that he needed to leave. He spoke for a few minutes, and eventually ended up a row or two in the stands, right behind his bench.
Notably, when Herrera was out for the 2nd half, his left eye was bloodshot, something it definitely wasn’t in the 1st half!
When I saw Miguel Herrera walk out in that Orlando City purple suit, and América score early, I thought there was no way the Mexican giants would lose in Orlando. But it’s the new boys from LA that are off to the final. What a match! #LAFCvAME pic.twitter.com/8l10LxRS2r— Brendan Dunlop (@Brendan_Dunlop) December 20, 2020
Then what happened?
After Herrera was banished to the stands, we got word on the broadcast he had received a red card at halftime. It was casually mentioned that LAFC assistant coach Ante Razov had also been ejected.
Why were they ejected?
So Herrera and Razov got into a scuffle/fight. On the sideline, the coaches were chatting, and at a certain point, Herrera grabs the back of Razov’s head.
And it escalates from there, with this image being the best explanation of how Herrera ended up with a bloodshot eye, as Razov punches and/or pokes him in the face.
Here’s some video (at a distance) of the encounter.
Así la bronca!!!— Joani Cruz (@JCruzCANCHA) December 20, 2020
Miguel Herrera y un miembro del cuerpo técnico del @lafc llegaron a las manos!
Eduard Atuesta llamó “Payaso de mierda” a Guillermo Ochoa. Se vaciaron las bancas en Orlando.
So obviously we weren’t on the field, we didn’t see the full sequence and didn’t hear what they said in the moment, but it’s safe to say that Club América’s attempts to get in LAFC’s heads backfired in the end in two ways: LAFC won anyway, and Razov appeared to be well up for mixing it up with Herrera. And thus they got kicked out, but the head coach getting kicked out is more consequential than an assistant.
What we saw the rest of the way was Herrera repeatedly being told to move higher up in the stands...
“ENSÉÑAME EL REGLAMENTO, YO NO ME MUEVO DE AQUÍ”.— Daniel Schvartzman (@Daniel_TUDN) December 20, 2020
Miguel Herrera siendo escoltado pic.twitter.com/MFH5jJTIiF
...and then eventually getting on a walkie-talkie to send instructions down to his bench.
Which image became the meme of the night?
Of course, it was Herrera — a man who has previously been immortalized in a hilarious super saiyan mashup — on his walkie-talkie.
What's Miguel Herrera saying?— LAFC (@LAFC) December 20, 2020
Wrong answers only. pic.twitter.com/Kq8JUwgYXM
What’s the fallout from this scuffle going to be?
Hard to say, but it will most likely be suspensions and fines for Herrera and Razov and fines for the clubs. Given Razov seemed to throw a punch and/or poke Herrera in the eye, if Herrera didn’t do likewise, then Razov is probably going to be sanctioned more. But Concacaf will likely make a decision in weeks or months, so don’t expect a swift resolution to this.
And thus caps off one of the weirdest subplots to one of the biggest nights in LAFC history.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.