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

LOS ANGELES — LAFC won its first MLS Cup title, defeating the Philadelphia Union 3-0 in penalty kicks after a thrilling and roller-coaster final at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday that ended in overtime. It ended 3-3.

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

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Just minutes earlier, it looked like Philadelphia had clinched 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 overtime. At that point, LAFC were down to 10 men after goalkeeper Maxime Crepo had been sent off minutes earlier.

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

This followed a breathless finish similar to the set time.

Jesus Murillo gave LAFC a 2-1 lead with seven minutes left, but Philadelphia equalized almost immediately with Elliott’s first goal.

All four goals came from free kicks in regulation time, with Klein Acosta giving LAFC the lead with a deflected free kick in the 27th minute before Daniel Gazdaug equalized for the Union after a corner kick.

The result means LAFC is the first team since Toronto FC in 2017 to win both the Supporters’ Shield as the best team in the regular season and the MLS Cup. Saturday marked the first time since 2003 that the No. 1 teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences met in an MLS exhibition game.

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Midfielder Eli Sanchez scored LAFC’s winning penalty in the shootout after successful efforts from Dennis Buanga and Ryan Hollinghead. Philadelphia couldn’t find the back of the net from the spot, McCarthy diving to deny Jose Martinez and Kai Wagner, and Gasdog slipped to send his effort over the crossbar.

After replacing Bale in the 97th minute, Carlos Vela said of watching on the bench: “The first 10, 15 minutes, it was a Halloween movie.” And then we finish with a Hollywood movie.

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

However, there was more than an element of luck in the game’s opening goal in the 28th minute.

Ever the resident of Philadelphia’s midfield, Martinez conceded a reckless foul 20 yards from goal and was made to pay when Acosta’s right-footed shot deflected wickedly over Jack McGlynn’s head into the Union wall and left keeper. He had to pay it. Andre Blake wandered over as he found the corner of the net.

The tempo of the game picked up almost immediately as LAFC sensed an opportunity to extend their lead before halftime. As he has done so many times this season, Blake did a lot to keep Philadelphia alive, blocking a Diego Palacios volley from point-blank range.

Philadelphia finally created a chance in the 43rd minute, only for a thrilling last-ditch challenge from LAFC’s fourth-choice centre-back Sebastian Ibiaga – playing in place of Giorgio Chiellini – to deflect the ball past Mikel O’Hare as he blocked. take away Down the gate

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Despite being down by one goal in the second half in a pot-bellied atmosphere on the road, the Union did not disappoint. In 15 minutes of the second half, the game was tied.

Again the goal was scored from a free kick and again there was an element of luck. Martinez was involved again. This time his ambitious shot, after a corner hit him over 35 yards out, was squarely in the path of Gazdog, who turned expertly before slotting home.

The Hungary international’s 24th goal of the season restored parity and capped a nail-biting final 30 minutes as LAFC fans once again turned up the volume to cheer their team on to find the winner.

However, no one could have guessed how dramatic the finale would be.

This breathtaking move started in the 83rd minute. Murillo rose to the top at the near post to head past Blake decisively from captain Vela’s spot-kick in the corner right in front of the LAFC fan section and erupted as the trophy stayed in Los Angeles.

This happiness lasts less than two minutes. Another free kick and more lax defending allowed Elliott to meet Wagner’s free kick and beat Crepio despite the LAFC keeper gloved it.

Crepo’s actual position in the drama was not yet determined. With 110 minutes ticking away, the Canada international raced out of his own box to block a short pass from Union forward Corey Burke. But in doing so, after a VAR review, he both cost himself a red card and suffered a leg injury that required minutes of treatment and a cart to carry him off.

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For Crepo, the injury likely means the end of his World Cup hopes.

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

He made a big decision by coming out and playing that game. I feel bad for him because the injury is serious and it looks like he will miss the World Cup. A Band-Aid.”

When Elliott put the Union ahead for the first time in the 124th minute, it looked like there was no way back for the home team, even with the fans turning the California bank into one of the best MLS venues since the team arrived. The league has changed. In 2018, he tried to encourage them once again.

With a superstar like Bale on the field, there’s always that chance.

And the 33-year-old, who has played sparingly since joining Real Madrid in the summer, more than lived up to his hype with an equalizer that will live down in LAFC history along with McCarthy’s saves.

“This place deserves it,” said first-year coach Steve Cherundolo, who engineered a massive turnaround from a team that missed the postseason last year. These fans are amazing. “They deserve a trophy and they earned it.”

This report uses information from the Associated Press.


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