Major League Soccer Cup: Gareth Bale scores dramatic goal as Los Angeles FC triumph in thrilling penalty shoot-out

Major League Soccer Cup: Gareth Bale scores dramatic goal as Los Angeles FC triumph in thrilling penalty shoot-out


Gareth Bale A dramatic, late goal helped Los Angeles FC win the Major League Soccer Cup for the first time in a thrilling, frantic final against the Philadelphia Union at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

Jack Elliott looked to have won the game for Philadelphia when he scored in stoppage time, but substitute Bale’s header minutes later tied the game at 3-3 and forced a penalty shootout, which LAFC won 3-0.

“It’s always nice to score in a final and I seem to have the talent for that,” Bale, who joined LAFC from Real Madrid earlier this year, told reporters after the game. “It’s big. It’s important for the club. It’s important for the fans.”

With Real Madrid, Bale scored three goals in Champions League finals – including a stunning bicycle kick against Liverpool in 2018.

“The reason I came is to try to help the club win the MLS Cup,” added the Wales international.

“You see how happy everyone is now – the fans, the city. It is important for this club to move to a higher level and I think that by winning this trophy it shows that we are.”

Bale's stoppage time goal set up LAFC's first MLS Cup triumph.

LAFC opened the scoring in Saturday’s final when Kellyn Acosta converted a free kick in the 28th minute.

Trailing 1-0 at the start of the second half, Union’s Daniel Gazdag equalized when he lifted José Martínez’s shot into the box.

The game remained tense until the 83rd minute when Jesús Murillo’s goal put Los Angeles back in the lead. That lead wouldn’t last too long, however, as Union’s Jack Elliott scored a header to force extra time.

In the 110th minute, LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau was booked for a nasty foul on Philadelphia’s Cory Burke.

Both players were injured for the foul and the card was changed to red as Crépeau was sent off due to injury. Burke remained in the game, while LAFC backup goalkeeper John McCarthy was brought on to finish the match.

Union’s Elliott stepped up again in stoppage time, scoring to give his side the lead with about five minutes remaining.

But just as Union thought the championship was secured, Bale equalized late in the final moments of stoppage time to force penalties.

McCarthy, who hails from Philadelphia, was the hero for Los Angeles as he saved two penalties in the shootout as LAFC scored on three of its four attempts, including Ilie Sanchez’s championship-clinching goal.

McCarthy celebrates LAFC's win in Los Angeles.

The home crowd went wild as players and coaches ran onto the field to celebrate the win.

McCarthy was named the 2022 MLS Cup Most Valuable Player after the match.

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