LAFC won their first MLS Cup on Saturday after a thrilling title game against the Philadelphia Union, winning on penalties after the two sides failed to separate in 120 minutes of football to the tune of 3-3.
LAFC took the lead in the 28th minute with a heavily deflected goal from Kellyn Acosta that found it just after it was headed by Jack McGlynn.
The Union equalized in the 59th minute via Daniel Gazdag, when the Hungarian striker grabbed a failed shot from Jose Martinez and the ball coolly passed Maxime Crepeau.
It looked like Jesus Murillo delivered the final blow when he headed home from a corner in the 83rd minute, although Jack Elliott converted his own header from the set piece just two minutes later to even the game and send it into extra time.
Kellyn Acosta opened the scoring for LAFC with a heavily deflected free kick in the first half
Acosta celebrates the goal with his teammates as LAFC takes a crucial 1-0 lead in the match
The match was played at LAFC’s home stadium and the host’s fans were out in full force
“The game definitely had a little bit of everything,” LAFC’s Acosta said.
“It was a roller coaster. It was crazy. It was an incredible match. It was a collective effort.’
Wales captain Gareth Bale was named on the bench for the match but came in in the 97th minute and would make a huge impact later on.
Extra time was packed with more twists and turns as Crepeau was sent off (and badly injured) after downing a clear Cory Burke on a poor back pass from Jesus Murillo.
With a man advantage and nine minutes of stoppage time, Elliott found the net again in the 124th minute – this time via a rebound – to give the Union the first lead of the game.
Acosta scored when a foul header from Jack McGlynn caused his free kick to go in
Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake couldn’t keep the ball out and the hosts went up
LAFC fans gave their team a boost during the game at the Banc of California Stadium
Union midfielder Jose Martinez passes the ball in the first half of the game
But the lead would only last four minutes when substitute Bale converted a cross from Diego Palacios from the left to score another header in the game and lead it to penalties.
“It’s always nice to score in finals, and I seem to have a talent for that,” Bale told reporters afterwards.
From there, LAFC won 3-0 in the shootout, with Ilie Sanchez scoring the decisive kick.
Daniel Gazdag equalized in the second half in the 59th minute with a cool finish
The Hungarian striker shot past Maxime Crepeau after a failed shot
Jesus Murillo scored with a header in the 83rd minute and it looked like the title belonged to LAFC
But Jack Elliott reacted two minutes later with a header of his own to equalize
John McCarthy, who replaced the ejected (and badly injured) Crepau, was later named the match MVP for his exploits after coming on as he saved attempts by Jose Martinez and Kai Wagner in the shootout.
While sending Crepau away gave him the chance to be in the spotlight, it was a bittersweet moment to watch the Canadian leave the field hurt just before the World Cup.
“I saw his face and we saw his emotion,” McCarthy said. “For me, that’s the game of the game. If he slides and misses, it’s 3-2 and who knows how the game will end.
“He made an important decision by coming out and making that 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 get out of this game for a band-aid.’
The title win is the first MLS Cup for Los Angeles FC.
Maxime Crepau was sent off after eliminating Cory Burke in extra time
Elliott scored his second goal of the game deep in extra time and scored from a rebound
But substitute Bale answered just four minutes later with a thunderous header to equalize
Bale made a significant impact in the game from the bench and saved the game for LAFC
Los Angeles went on to win 3-0 on penalties to earn their first MLS Cup
Diego Palacios and Bale celebrate after beating the Philadelphia Union in the shootout
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