Justin Bieber, Will Ferrell and Magic Johnson watch Gareth Bale win MLS Cup - in pictures

Wales star scores dramatic equaliser to set up Los Angeles FC shootout win against Philadelphia Union

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Gareth Bale scored a dramatic equaliser in extra time to lead Los Angeles FC to their first MLS Cup triumph.

Bale, who came on as a late substitute after sitting out the playoffs with a wrist injury, leapt to head a cross from Diego Palacios over Philadelphia Union's Jack Elliott in the 128th minute to level at 3-3 in Los Angeles.

LA goalkeeper John McCarthy, who took over after Maxime Crepeau was carried off after a collision, rose to the occasion to secure the 3-0 win on penalties.

"It's always nice to score in finals, and I seem to have a knack for doing that," said Bale.

"It's big. It's important for the club. It's important for the fans.

"I’m not 100 per cent at the moment. I’m still coming back. I haven’t trained too much over the last three or four weeks because I’ve had this little slight issue. I was able to come on for the last 20, 30 minutes, and just give as much as I can.

“Glad I came up with a goal to help the team. Yeah, that’s what I’m here to do, I guess.”

LA coach Steve Cherundolo said of Bale's contribution: "It's Gareth being Gareth.

"He does it in training. He's done it this season. When he's feeling well and healthy, he makes a difference in games. That's why we bring him in those moments."

With the win LA have delivered on the high expectation that came when they joined MLS in 2018.

With their celebrity owners, including Magic Johnson and Will Ferrell, and glamorous stadium, the team assembled a star-studded roster.

It appeared to be a case of the rich getting richer when the team welcomed Bale in July but he had limited impact during the regular season and had not been in action all post-season.

But he more than delivered for his team when they were against the ropes.

"The reason why I came here was to try and help the club win the MLS Cup," said Bale, who will captain Wales in the World Cup that kicks off later this month.

"You can see how happy everybody is now, the fans, the city. It's important for this club to go to the next level, and I think by winning this trophy, it shows that we are.

"It's a club really on the rise doing the right things and it's an important trophy for us, especially the first one, first major trophy, and hopefully there's more to come in the future."

Updated: November 06, 2022, 12:14 PM
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