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NOTE: There are 3 videos JD directly uploaded to the page that I can’t create a URL for to extract.The Philadelphia Union went the distance on Saturday with LAFC for a 3-3 draw in the MLS Cup Final with LAFC claiming their first league championship on a 3-0 penalty kick shootout. The highly anticipated matchup between the top two teams in the league throughout the course of the season lived up to the hype with a back and forth affair with the Union coming from behind twice before faltering at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

LAFC drew first blood after Jose Martinez was called for a foul which set up a Kellyn Acosta Free Kick in the 28th minute. Acosta’s kick deflected off Jack McGlynn’s face into the bottom left corner of the net. In the 59th minute Jose Martinez fed a through ball to Daniel Gazdag who put the equalizer in the back of the net setting the estimated crowd of 6000 Union faithful gathered at Subaru Park into a frenzy.​

Jesus Murillo put LAFC in the lead again with a header goal in the 83rd minute on an assist from Carlos Vela. The Union quickly countered in the 85th minute when a Kai Wagner corner kick found Jack Elliott in the center of the box to put a header into the net past LAFC goalie Maxime Crepeau to send the game to extra time.

In the extra time in the 115th minute Crepeau came out of the box to challenge an attacking Corey Burke resulting in an ugly collision which shook up Burke and injured Crepeau who was initially called for a yellow card on the foul but was upgraded to a red card after video review. Crepeau was carted off with an injury from the play so he was out of the game under any circumstance. LAFC backup goalie John McCarthy, a Philadelphia native, LaSalle University graduate, and Andre Blake’s backup with the Union from 2015-18 replaced Crepeau and Kwadwo Opoku who departed the game at the same time to allow the red card substitution and play the remainder of the game with 10 players.

Video Credit: JD Walker

Crepeau’s injury resulted in a whopping nine minutes of stoppage time added on. In the 4th minute of stoppage time a well placed cross found Elliott in front of the net for a header which McCarthy saved but Elliott got his own rebound and sent it home with his right foot to give the Union their first lead of the game. ​

Unfortunately, the celebration was short-lived. In the 8th minute of stoppage, Diego Palacios put a cross perfectly in front of the net to find Gareth Bale for a header that Blake got a hand on but kept going into the net to tie the game 3-3 and send the game to a shootout.

LAFC went first in the shootout and Christian Tello’s shot was saved by Andre Blake and Daniel Gazdag’s shot went far over the crossbar. Denis Bouanga went next and scored the first kick for LAFC and Jose Martinez’s shot was saved by McCarthy. In the third round Ryan Hollingshead found the back of the net and Kai Wagner was stuffed by McCarthy. Ilie Sanchez scored the clincher in the fourth round to give LAFC the Cup.

Video Credit: JD Walker
Video Credit: JD Walker

News and notes:

This was the first time the top two teams in the MLS regular season table met in the MLS Cup final since 2003 when the San Jose Earthquakes defeated the Chicago Fire. Union coach Jim Curtin played in that final as a defender for the Fire.

The Union announced Friday a transfer agreement to send 19 year old home grown stud Paxten Aaronson to Eintracht Frankfurt of Bundesliga for $4 Million plus add-on bonuses and a sell-on percentage. This recoups nearly ⅓ of the Union’s $12.3 Million payroll (per for this season. Paxten’s older brother Branden Aaronson, another Union Academy graduate is currently starring for Leeds United of the English Premier League and the US Men’s National Team.

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