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LAFC Reigns Supreme: MLS Cup 2022 Recap

The MLS Cup was played at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. The proximity to Hollywood showed on the field, and throughout the game: the match and the ending looked like they came right out of a Hollywood blockbuster.

The scoring was opened in the 28th minute when midfielder Kellyn Acosta deflected one in off of a free kick. The equalizer came from Philadelphia in the 59th minute in the form of a Daniel Gadzag when he captured a screamer that was blocked by LAFC.

The teams traded 83rd and 85th-minute goals to send them into extra time. Extra time is where this game really took on its Tinseltown feel.

Jack Elliott, the Union center-back who had scored the 85th-minute equalizer, came through with another equalizer in the 124th minute that looked like it was going to send the Union onwards to the championship. Then, Gareth Bale happened.

Gareth Bale’s header in the 128th(!) minute tied the MLS Cup at 3-3, sending the game to penalty kicks.

Penalty kicks were another beat in this Hollywood spectacle. In the 117th minute of the game, LAFC starting keeper Maxime Crepeau was hurt in a collision with Union striker Cory Burke. Crepeau was also given a red card for deliberately preventing a goal-scoring opportunity.

Enter John McCarthy, LAFC’s backup goalkeeper, and a former member of the Philadelphia Union. McCarthy had only played in one league match so far this year. After Bale’s game-tying header, LAFC was looking at going to penalty kicks for the MLS Cup title.

McCarthy met his Hollywood moment by stopping two penalty kicks on the way to victory. LAFC took down the MLS Cup, completing the first Supporters Shield/MLS double since 2017.

Black and Gold: Where Do They Go From Here

After winning an all-time classic like MLS Cup 2022, it seems LAFC won’t come back down from that for a long time. There are a number of decisions that the organization has to make before next season starts.

Those decisions include – will Gareth Bale return? Which expired contracts do you resign? A number of notable players like Ryan Hollingshead, Latif Blessing, and Kellyn Acosta. There is also the decision of what to do about Maxime Crepeau. Crepeau broke his leg on the red card collision that sent him off in the MLS Cup. When the Black and Gold wake up from their celebration, there will be some decisions to make.

Philadelphia Union: Another Opportunity Missed

After a heartbreaking loss, the Union are in good position to contend again next year. The majority of their core is signed through the upcoming season. Paxten Aaronson and Kai Wagner are expected to depart.

The other departure to be concerned about is head coach Jim Curtin. Curtin has been rumored to be on the shortlist for the US Men’s National Team. Depending on how the USMNT’s World Cup outcome is, they could be on the lookout for a new head coach to guide the national team.

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