LAFC Beat The Union To Win MLS Cup In The Greatest Game In League History

Major League Soccer crowned a champion on Saturday afternoon, and they needed a whole heck of a lot of time to determine who would wear the crown. Los Angeles Football Club played host to the Philadelphia Union in a battle of 1-seeds, and by the time the dust settled, Los Angeles could call themselves champions via a penalty shootout in the greatest game that MLS has ever seen.

The two sides were level after 90 minutes, with Kellyn Acosta and Jesús Merillo finding the back of the net for Los Angeles and Dániel Gazdag and Jack Elliott scoring for the Union. Somehow, someway, things got even crazier than you could ever expect after that. A red card was given to LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau in the 116th minute with the game still level, but because of how late in the game it occurred, it was going to take something unforeseen for a winner to be decided in regulation.

Elliott seemed like he did that exact thing. In the fourth minutes of an added nine in injury time, the Union leaned on the tried and true method of pumping the ball into the box over and over with the hopes that something good would happen. And after a lengthy spell of chaos, Elliott made that special thing happen.

But cometh the hour, cometh the man, and LAFC has one hell of a man to call on in these moments. Legendary Welsh forward Gareth Bale went up and got his head to a ball played in by Diego Palacios, which managed to sneak just past the outstretched arm of Andre Blake.

Blake, the captain for Philadelphia, was able to respond on the first penalty, stonewalling a poor effort by Cristian Tello. But the Union were unable to capitalize, as Gazdag’s foot slipped and he skied his attempt.

LAFC’s Denis Bouanga stepped up and converted his, and then, John McCarthy came up big, stopping an effort by José Martínez. Ryan Hollingshead converted his effort, putting the heat on Philly. McCarthy stopped yet another penalty, this time from Kai Wagner, to put Ilie Sánchez in a position to win the Cup for Los Angeles. Blake guessed right, but Sánchez was able to just tuck the ball into the corner for the winner.

The victory marks the first time in LAFC’s brief history that they can call themselves MLS Cup winners.