LAFC vs Philadelphia Union – MLS Cup Final – Match Report

By FPL360
LAFC vs Philadelphia Union – MLS Cup Final – Match Report


From Los Angeles 

Los Angeles, California – LAFC have beaten Philadelphia Union to win the MLS Cup final in front of 22,000 spectators at the Banc of California Stadium following a 3-0 penalty shoot-out victory (2-2 after 90 minutes and 3-3 after 120 minutes). It was a dramatic final that could not see the two teams separated.

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Kellyn Acosta (28′) opened the scoring with a freekick for LAFC; Daniel Gazdag then equalized from close range in the second half (59′). The game then went back and forward; first, Jesus Murillo (83′) brought LAFC back in front, with Jack Elliott (84′) equalizing. Elliott then also scored the Union’s lead in extra-time (124′), but Gareth Bale (129′) would equalize in dramatic fashion. Here are our thoughts from a great final.

MLS Cup Final: Banc of California Stadium provides a magnificent backdrop 

Home advantage and market values are the two major factors when you want to bet on MLS games, according to economist Stefan Szymanski. With LAFC winning the Supporters’ Shield, they, therefore, had a significant advantage as they played both at home but also had a bigger market value.

But even without the market value advantage playing at the Banc of California Stadium is always a major advantage for LAFC. Providing a stunning view of downtown LA and the San Gabriel mountains. The inside of the stadium is a cauldron, with the 3252 providing constant noise from the north stand.

Although it holds just 22,000 spectators, the noise is constant, with a mix of Latino and European chants. The crowd kept at it throughout the game; even when Philadelphia scored, there was no stopping the majority of the 22,000 spectators at the Banc of California. A remarkable crowd provided a perfect backdrop for a great final, and the LAFC fans will feel that they have greatly contributed to their team winning their first-ever MLS Cup.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Lumen Field & Co. – All 27 MLS Stadiums at a glance

DRV PNK Stadium – Inter Miami CF – Capacity: 18,000

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PayPal Park – San Jose Earthquakes – Capacity: 18,000

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Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Colorado Rapids – Capacity: 18,061

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Children’s Mercy Park – Sporting Kansas City – Capacity: 18,467

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Subaru Park – Philadelphia Union – Capacity: 18,500

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Allianz Field – Minnesota United FC – Capacity: 19,400

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Saputo Stadium – CF Montréal – Capacity: 19,619

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New Columbus Crew Stadium – Columbus Crew SC – Capacity: 20,000

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Audi Field – D.C. United – Capacity: 20,000

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Gillette Stadium – New England Revolution – Capacity: 20,000

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Gillette Stadium’s real capacity is 65,878.Artificially reduced to 20,000 for soccer games.

Rio Tinto Stadium – Real Salt Lake City – Capacity: 20,213

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Q2 Stadium – Austin FC – Capacity: 20,500

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Toyota Stadium – FC Dallas – Capacity: 20,500

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Banc of California Stadium – Los Angeles FC – Capacity: 22,000

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BBVA Stadium – Houston Dynamo FC – Capacity: 22,039

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BC Place – Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Capacity: 22,120

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BC Place’s real capacity is 54,500, but it’s artificially reduced to 22,120.

Soldier Field – Chicago Fire FC – Capacity: 24,955

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Soldier Field’s real capacity is 61,500, but it’s artificially reduced to 24,955.

Red Bull Arena – New York Red Bulls – Capacity: 25,000

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Providence Park – Portland Timbers – Capacity: 25,218

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Exploria Stadium – Orlando City SC – Capacity: 25,500

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TQL Stadium – FC Cincinnati – Capacity: 26,000

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Dignity Health Sports Park – Los Angeles Galaxy – Capacity: 27,000

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BMO Field – Toronto FC – Capacity: 28,351

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GEODIS Park – Nashville SC – Capacity: 30,000

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Yankee Stadium – New York City FC – Capacity: 30,321

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Yankee Stadium’s real capacity is 54,251, but it’s artificially reduced to 30,321. New York City FC will play some games at the Red Bull Arena.

Lumen Field – Seattle Sounders FC – Capacity: 37,722

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Lumen Field’s real capacity is 68,740, but it’s artificially reduced to 37,722. Four matches scheduled to use a larger capacity.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta United FC – Capacity: 71,000

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Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s real capacity is 75,000, but it’s artificially reduced to 71,000.

An early goal guaranteed an entertaining final

Four goals in regular time! It was an entertaining final, and it took just 28 minutes for LAFC to open the scoring. Acosta’s freekick might have been deflected, but even though the Union held the majority of the possession up until that point, that goal felt deserved. Although both teams started cagey, it felt that LAFC were doing a bit more for the game up until that point. 

The goal then naturally changed the complexion of the game. With LAFC holding the lead, Philadelphia had to be more aggressive, and Mikael Uhre forced a spectacular stop of Canadian keeper Maxime Crépeau just before halftime, which was immediately countered with Carlos Vela just about missing the net on the other end. 

With the game more open, the Union would strike, with Gazdag just about breaking the offside trap to beat Crépeau from close range. What was remarkable was LAFC’s reaction as the team in black and gold kept attacking, throwing wave upon wave toward Andre Blake’s goal. First, Murillo and then Elliott would provide more goals in what was a fantastic 90 minutes of regular-time football. 

Insigne, Thiago Almada, Martínez & Co. – The 25 most valuable MLS players

Ryan Gauld | Vancouver Whitecaps | Market value: $7.15m

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José Cifuentes | Los Angeles FC | Market value: $7.15m

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Xherdan Shaqiri | Chicago Fire | Market value: $7.7m

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Carles Gil | New England Revolution | Market value: $7.7m

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Sebastián Driussi | Austin FC | Market value: $7.7m

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Riqui Puig | Los Angeles Galaxy | Market value: $7.7m

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Brenner | FC Cincinnati | Market value: $7.7m

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Talles Magno | New York City FC | Market value: $7.7m

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Dániel Sallói | Sporting Kansas City | Market value: $8.25m

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Raúl Ruidíaz | Seattle Sounders | Market value; $8.8m

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Alan Pulido | Sporting Kansas City | Market value: $8.8m

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Alejandro Pozuelo | Inter Miami CF | Market value: $8.8m

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Lucas Zelarayán | Columbus Crew | Market value: $8.8m

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Denis Bouanga | LAFC | Market value: $8.8m

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Hany Mukhtar | Nashville SC | Market value: $8.8m

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Marcelino Moreno | Atlanta United | Market value: $8.8m

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Jefferson Savarino | Real Salt Lake | Market value: $8.8m

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Cucho Hernández | Columbus Crew | Market value: $9.9m

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Federico Bernardeschi | Toronto FC | Market value: 11m

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Luiz Araujo | Atlanta United | Market value: $11m

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Emmanuel Reynoso | Minnesota United | Market value: $11m

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Alan Velasco | FC Dallas | Market value: $11m

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Josef Martínez | Atlanta United | Market value: $13.75m

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Thiago Almada | Atlanta United | Market value: $19.8m

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Lorenzo Insigne | Toronto FC | Market value: $27.5m

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MLS Cup final: Set pieces the key 

LAFC would find a second goal when Murillo scored with a thunderous header from a corner kick in the 84th minute. That lead was, however, evaporated when Elliott responded with a header from a freekick just moments later to make it 2-2. 

When one includes Gazdag’s goal, which was preceded by a corner kick, all four regular-time goals were produced from set pieces. With both teams relatively evenly matched, it is no surprise that it was ultimately set pieces that provided the chaos necessary to create goals. 

Perhaps that is not surprising, considering that the two teams came into the match with the highest point total in the league. And although LAFC have the higher squad value and played at home, there was never an underdog story here in the typical fashion as the Union were a fantastic match. Hence, with two teams evenly balanced, set pieces are a crucial weapon to score and ultimately win games as extra time would highlight. 

Heroes and villains: Crépeau drama, Bale and McCarthy heroics

Overtime provided more drama but also one sad moment. First, we need to discuss the sad moment. In the 116th minute, goalkeeper Crépeau was sent off after he stopped Corey Burke on a breakaway following a terrible LAFC giveaway.

The red card was just consequential but will be just a side story to Crépeau’s injury suffered in the foul. The Canadian would have to be stretched off with what looked like a fractured leg and will surely miss the World Cup. 

What then followed, however, was pure mayhem. First, Elliott scored his second of the game, and then Bale equalized with just moments to go. Both goals were naturally scored from set pieces. Set pieces, too, then were needed to provide a winner as LAFC won it 3-0 on penalties where former Philadelphia goalkeeper John McCarthy was the hero. 











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