After becoming the first player to score in both the Champions League and MLS Cup finals, Gareth Bale acknowledged his ability to score in the finals as he helped LAFC win the Major League Soccer title for the first time on Saturday.
In a dramatic finale at the Bank of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Bale scored a dramatic equalizer in the 128th minute with a penalty kick in a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union.
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The Welsh star’s goal was the latest in MLS history and tied the game at 3-3 as LAFC took the lead twice and went down to 10 men in stoppage time four minutes after the break.
It was Bale’s sixth goal in a grand final. Three of them came in Champions League finals – one against Atletico Madrid in 2014 and two against Liverpool in 2018, including a stunning header. He helped Madrid win the 2014 Copa del Rey final against Barcelona. That year’s Club World Cup final.
“It’s always good to score in the finals and I feel like I have the ability to do that,” Bell said.
“It’s big, it’s important for the club, it’s important for the fans. We were down to 10 men and we couldn’t seem to get anything out of the game. So it was good for everyone to keep pushing, to keep fighting and, as I said, to get the goal and help the team. At the level, I’m not too sure. But it’s a great feeling.
Bale joined LAFC on a free transfer after his eight-year spell at Real Madrid ended this summer.
But the fitness issues that plagued his final season in the Spanish capital continued after his arrival at LAC, limiting him to just two starts as LAFC won the Supporters’ Shield.
It was Bale’s first appearance in the knockout stages when he came off the bench in the seventh minute of extra time on Saturday.
“It was a tough transition going in without preseason,” Bale said. “Trying to hold on, moving with my family was difficult.
But I’ve tried to be as fit as I can, try to help the team as much as I can both on and off the pitch and when you have a moment like today, everything counts. The most important thing was the target to win the MLS. Cup final and we managed to do that.
The 33-year-old has warned he is still not 100 per cent fit following his recent knock and said he is concerned about his condition two weeks before he is set to lead Wales to their first World Cup since 1958.
“I’m feeling better as time goes on,” he said. “I think it was very difficult mentally leading to the World Cup, you see how many players are dropping out and now they are missing the World Cup.
“It was definitely in the back of my mind trying to make sure I was 100% fit.”
Wales’ first game of the World Cup coincidentally will be against the United States on November 21. And LAFC coach Steve Cherdolo joked that he hoped Bell, who won 87 caps for the United States, would not have the same impact on his team. Americans.
“I’m sure he won’t, but I’ll try,” Bale replied.