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Bouanga’s brilliance: LD Alajuelense 0, LAFC 3

Denis Bouanga should take a bow after that amazing hat-trick performance

Toronto FC v LAFC - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

If LAFC want to compete in all of their competitions this season, they will have to get into mid-season form a lot faster than most. In their second match of the new season, the black-and-gold hit the road to Costa Rica for the first time, facing off against LD Alajuelense in CONCACAF Champions League action.

With eyes set on finishing the job of after their 2021 Champions League Finals loss, LAFC came out with their foot on the gas. The visitors were getting shots off at the goal early and often, coming close to an opening goal in the first ten minutes not just once, but three times on really good looks at the goal. Alajuelense eventually settled into the match a bit as the first half continued, tightening up just enough to give them hope of going into the half level at zero. LAFC had the best chance of the night late in the half, after some great passing and dribbling got Denis Bouanga wide open for a tap in that he just misjudged and sent right at the post.

Coming out for the second half, you could tell Bouanga had been stewing on that missed opportunity and must have vowed ‘never again’ because just two minutes into the second half he got another chance at goal and took it by the scruff of the neck, burying it with a possible deflection from his defender teammate, Ryan Hollingshead. In the end, the goal was given to Bouanga, and LAFC was given the lead to start the final 45.

Bouanga wasn't done there. In the 70th minute the man many pegged as the replacement to a departed Chicho Arango, scored his second goal of the match. This time, Ryan Hollingshead got a proper assist, getting the ball in for Denis on a beautiful low cross that went all the way to the other end of the box where Bouanga buried it for his brace. The team that needed to get into mid-season form as quick as possible, looked to be in just that this evening.

Denis Bouanga sent fans home with one for the road, scoring the third goal of the night and securing his hat-trick, in the 89th minute. A perfect corner kick play ended with Denis banging in the goal from an angle, but with plenty of time and space to get the shot off. The goal would be more than enough for LAFC to leave with the win. Two matches, two competitions, two opening wins for the black-and-gold as they get off to a perfect start in 2023. The team will be back home this Sunday, taking on New England Revolution.

How are you feeling after the big win tonight? Leave a comment below!