Reggae Boyz stars suffer heartbreaking MLS Cup defeat

Andre Blake and Cory Burke’s Philadelphia Union fall to LAFC in title game

Andre Blake faces Gareth Bale header during the 2022 MLS Cup

Reggae Boyz goalkeeper, Andre Blake, and striker, Cory Burke, were so close to an MLS Cup win, yet so far away.

Blake and Burke’s Philadelphia Union lost Major League Soccer’s title game to Los Angeles FC on Saturday at the Bank of California Stadium in Los Angeles. LAFC won 3-0 on penalties following a breathless 3-3 tie after extra time.

MLS Cup turned into a real back-and-forth affair from start to finish. Kellyn Acosta opened the scoring for LAFC in the 28th minute. But, Dániel Gazdag equalized for Philly in the 59th. Jesús David Murillo seemingly gave LAFC a late winner with an 83rd-minute winner. However, the Union immediately responded with a goal from Jack Elliott in the 85th.

A wild extra time ensued thereafter. LAFC goalkeeper and Canadian international, Maxime Crépeau, was sent off for challenging Burke outside the box, resulting in Crépeau fracturing his leg. After a lengthy stoppage, Elliott pounced in the 124th minute to apparently win the Cup for Philly. But, former Real Madrid and Tottenham star, Gareth Bale, had other ideas. The Welsh international and four-time Champions League winner, known for his big-game reputation, headed home an improbable 128th-minute equalizer.

The game then went to penalties where Blake saved the first penalty. But, perhaps shaken by Bale’s goal, the Union faltered in the shootout. Philadelphia failed to score any of their three penalty attempts and LAFC hoisted their maiden MLS Cup.

For the Union, it was also their first MLS Cup final. It came off the back of Blake winning the MLS Goalkeeper Of The Year award for the third time in his career. And, it came after Burke sealed their berth in the final with a goal against then-defending champions, New York City FC.


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Written by Jodee Brown

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