22MLS_MLSCup_MVP_16x9_Mccarthy

The most unlikely of heroes emerged as MLS Cup 2022 MVP presented by Audi.

Back-up LAFC goalkeeper John McCarthy took home the honors in MLS Cup 2022 thanks to his penalty-kick saves that gave the Black & Gold a 3-0 shootout win over the Philadelphia Union after playing to a dramatic 3-3 draw in regulation time — plus 30 minutes of extra time.

Named to the bench for Saturday's grand finale, the 30-year-old Philadelphia native came on in the 117th minute as an emergency sub to replace starter Maxime Crepeau, who saw a straight red card for denying Cory Burke a clear goal-scoring opportunity with a foul. The Canadian goalie had to leave the game on a stretcher as a result of the play.

John McCarthy shootout saves win MLS Cup for LAFC

The unthinkable scenario turned into a blessing in disguise for LAFC. First, fellow substitute Gareth Bale did his part by forcing the PKs with a last-gasp header (120'+8' minute).

McCarthy, who played four seasons with the Union, then took over. Daniel Gazdag hit his shot over the crossbar before the GK made two diving saves to deny both Jose Martinez and Kai Wagner.

Ilie Sánchez converted the title-winning spot kick to send the Banc into a frenzy as LAFC celebrated their first league title in an MLS Cup that will surely go down as the best played to date. And McCarthy was a huge reason for it.