LAFC vs. Philadelphia Union – Football Match Report – November 5, 2022

Los Angeles – LAFC won its first MLS Cup title, beating the Philadelphia Union 3-0 on penalty kicks after a thrilling roller-coaster final at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday finished 3-3 after extra time.

Substitute goalkeeper John McCarthy, in just his second appearance for the club, was LAFC’s hero, coming off the bench late in extra time to save two penalties in the shootout against his hometown club.

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Just minutes earlier, Philadelphia had won the trophy for the first time when Jack Elliott scored his second goal of the game from close range in stoppage time at the end of extra time. At that moment, LAFC was reduced to 10 men after a red card for goalkeeper Maxime Crepau minutes earlier.

But Welsh star Gareth Bale, who came off the bench in extra time, miraculously scored for LAFC in the 128th minute with the latest goal in MLS history.

That followed a similarly breathless end to regulation time.

Jesus Murillo put LAFC ahead 2-1 with seven minutes left in regulation, but Philadelphia equalized almost immediately through Elliott’s first goal.

All four goals in regulation time came from set pieces, with Kellyn Acosta giving LAFC a 27th-minute lead through a deflected free kick before Daniel Gazdag pounced to equalize for the Union following a half-time corner.

The result means that LAFC becomes the first team since Toronto FC in 2017 to win both the Supporters’ Shield, as the best regular season team, and the MLS Cup. Saturday was the first time since 2003 that the no.

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Midfielder Eli Sanchez scored the winning penalty for LAFC in the shootout, following successful efforts from Denis Boanga and Ryan Hollingshead. Philadelphia failed to find the net from the spot, with McCarthy diving to deny Jose Martinez and Kay Wagner, and Gazdag slipping to send his effort high over the crossbar.

“For the first 10, 15 minutes, it was a Halloween movie,” Carlos Vela said of watching from the bench after being substituted for Bale in the 97th minute. “And then we end up with a Hollywood movie.”

A few hours earlier, the game had begun with little hint of the thrill ride that was to come.

There was more than an element of good fortune, however, regarding the game’s opening goal in the 28th minute.

Martinez, always living on the edge in the Philadelphia midfield, conceded a reckless foul just over 20 yards from goal and was rewarded when Acosta’s right-footed effort took a poor deflection off Jack McGlynn’s head into the Union wall and left Goalkeeper Andre Blake stranded when it found the corner of the net.

The tempo of the game increased almost immediately as LAFC sensed an opportunity to extend its lead before halftime. As he has done so often this season, Blake was great to keep Philadelphia alive, blocking from point-blank range to deny Diego Palacios’ volley.

Philadelphia finally created a chance of their own in the 43rd minute, only for a sensational last-ditch challenge from LAFC’s fourth-choice center back Sebastien Ibeagha – playing in place of Giorgio Chiellini – to take the ball from Mikkel Uhre as he bore down. Down on target.

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Despite a goal in the half-time interval in a cauldron-like atmosphere on the road, the association was undeterred. In 15 minutes of the second half, the game was even.

Again the score came from a ladder and again there was an element of luck. Martinez was also involved again. This time his ambitious shot after a corner broke to him more than 35 yards out perfectly into the path of Gazdag, who turned expertly before finishing high in the net.

The Hungary international’s 24th goal of the season restored parity and set up a nail-biting final 30 minutes as the LAFC supporters rose in volume again to encourage their side to find a winner.

Still, no one could predict how dramatic the finale would become.

The breathless fight started in the 83rd minute. Murillo rose highest at the near post to head emphatically past Blake from captain Vela’s swinging corner right in front of the LAFC supporters section as it erupted with anticipation of the trophy staying in LA

The joy would last less than two minutes. Another set piece and more sloppy defending allowed Elliott to meet a free kick from Wagner and beat Crepeau despite the LAFC keeper getting a glove on him.

Crepeau’s true place in the drama is yet to come. With 110 minutes on the clock, the Canada international burst from his box to try to prevent Union striker Cory Burke getting on the end of a short back pass. But in doing so he both cost himself a red card, after a VAR review, and suffered a serious-looking leg injury that required several minutes of treatment and a cart to take him off the field.

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For Crepeau, the injury probably also means the end of his World Cup hopes.

“I saw his face and we saw his emotion,” said McCarthy, who won the MLS Cup MVP award. “For me, it’s the play of the game. If he slides and misses, it’s 3-2 and who knows how the game will end.

“He made a big-time decision by coming out and making the game. I’m devastated for him because it’s a serious injury and it looks like he’s going to miss the World Cup. You don’t come out of the game for a band. – Help.”

When Elliott put the Union ahead for the first time in the 124th minute, there was no going back for the host team, even as the supporters who have made the Bank of California one of the best venues in MLS since the team’s entry in the league. In 2018 tried to encourage them once more.

With a superstar like Bale on the pitch, there is always a chance.

And the 33-year-old, who has played sparingly since joining from Real Madrid in the summer, more than justified his hype with an equalizing goal that, combined with McCarthy’s saves, will live long in LAFC history.

“This place deserves this,” said first-year coach Steve Chirundolo, who engineered the huge turnaround by a team that missed the postseason last year. “The fans are amazing. They deserve a cup, and they got it.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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