Los Angeles Football Club 3 – 3 Philadelphia

Los Angeles FC won their first MLS Cup by beating Philadelphia Union 3-0 on penalties following a 3-3 draw, with Gareth Bale’s late equalizer sending the game to a shootout.

The Wales captain struck in the eighth minute of added time, having come on as a substitute in the 97th minute. It was his first appearance for LAFC since October 2 after suffering an injury and comes just over two weeks before the World Cup.

It was not the first comeback of the match either in an enthralling contest worthy of a cup final. Kellyn Acosta fired LAFC ahead just before the half-hour mark, before Daniel Gazdag equalized in the second half.

LAFC thought they had won it when Jesus Murillo saw them back in front in the 83rd minute, but, two minutes later, Jack Elliott equalized to send the game into extra-time.

There was a lengthy period of injury-time after LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau collided with Cory Burke, with both players needing lengthy medical treatment.

Philadelphia Union defender Jack Elliott celebrates scoring in extra-time

Crepeau was initially shown a yellow card, but, after a VAR review, it was upgraded to a red card as the goalkeeper was loaded onto a stretcher and ushered off the pitch.

Elliott was again on target for Philadelphia in the fourth minute of second-half injury-time in the extra period, silencing the Banc of California Stadium, before Bale nodded home in style to send the match to a penalty shootout.

Gareth Bale heads in a last-gasp equalizer for LAFC in extra time
Bale heads in a last-gasp equalizer for LAFC in extra-time

Substitute goalkeeper John McCarthy proved to be the hero, saving two of Philadelphia’s three penalties. It was Ilie Sanchez who stepped up to score the decisive spot-kick for LAFC, firing past Union stopper Andre Blake to seal LAFC’s first MLS Cup title.

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