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).
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.