Gareth Bale A dramatic, late goal helped the Los Angeles FC win its first Major League Soccer title in a thrilling and thrilling finale over the Philadelphia Union at Bank of California Stadium in Los Angeles.
Jack Elliott’s goal in overtime for Philadelphia looked to have won the game, but substitute Bale scored minutes later to tie the game at 3-3 and force a penalty kick as LAFC won 3-0.
“It’s always good to score in finals and I seem to have the ability to do that,” Bale, who joined LAFC from Real Madrid earlier this year, told reporters after the match. “It’s big. It’s important for the club. It’s important for the fans,” he said.
With Real Madrid, Bale has scored three times in Champions League finals – including a stunning bicycle kick against Liverpool in 2018.
“The reason I’m here is to help the club win the MLS Cup,” added the Wales international.
Now you can see how happy everyone is – the fans, the city. It is important for this club to go to the next level, and it shows that we are winning this trophy.
LAFC opened the scoring in the 28th minute of Saturday’s final with a penalty shot by Kellyn Acosta.
With a 1-0 lead in the second half, Union’s Daniel Gazdag equalized with Jose Martinez’s shot into the box.
Los Angeles took the lead until the 83rd minute. However, that lead was short-lived as Union’s Jack Elliott headed home to force extra time.
In the 110th minute, LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepe saw a yellow card for a foul on Philadelphia’s Corey Burke.
Both players were injured for their fouls and Crepe was sent off with a red card. Burke remained in the game, while LAFC backup goalkeeper John McCarthy came on to finish the game.
Union Elliott struck again in stoppage time and scored with five minutes to go.
But just as the Union thought they had secured the title, Bale forced a free kick late in the dying hours to equalize.
McCarthy, from Philadelphia, was the hero for Los Angeles, saving two penalties in the shootout, and Eli Sanchez scored on three of LAFC’s four attempts in the championship save.
As a result, the crowd went crazy as players and coaches ran onto the field to celebrate the victory.
McCarthy was named the 2022 MLS Cup Most Valuable Player after the match.