Gareth Bale admitted he has a knack for scoring in finals after becoming the first player to score in both the Champions League and MLS Cup finals as he helped LAFC win their first ever Soccer League title on Saturday.
Bale scored a stunning equalizer in the 128th minute of a thrilling final at the Bank of California Stadium in Los Angeles as LAFC beat the Philadelphia Union 3-0 on penalties.
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The Welsh star’s goal was the latest in MLS history and LAFC went down to 10 men in overtime, then tied the game 3-3 after going behind and twice taking the lead four minutes into overtime.
It was Bale’s sixth goal in a major final. Three of them have been in the Champions League final — one against Atletico Madrid in 2014 and two, including a stunning 2018 strike against Liverpool. He also scored the winning goal against Barcelona in the 2014 Copa del Rey final, helping Madrid to victory. the final of the Club World Cup in the same year.
“It’s always nice to score in a final and I think I have the talent to do it,” Bale said.
“It’s big. It’s important for the club, it’s important for the fans. We were down to 10 men and we didn’t look like we could get anything out of the game. So thanks to everyone, keep pushing, keep fighting and, like I said, get the goal and “It’s good to help the team. I’m not sure where he ranks, 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 recent seasons in the Spanish capital have continued since his arrival in Los Angeles, limiting him to just two starts as LAFC won the Supporters’ Shield.
It was Bale’s first appearance in the playoffs on Saturday when he came off the bench in the seventh minute of added time.
“It’s been a difficult transition with no pre-season,” Bale admitted. “It was hard trying to catch up and moving with my family.
“But I tried to stay as fit as possible, try to help the team as much as possible on and off the field, and when you have moments like today, it’s all worth it. The most important thing was to win. The MLS Cup final and we did it.”
The 33-year-old has warned he is still not 100 per cent fit after a recent knock and admitted he is concerned about his condition two weeks before leading Wales to their first World Cup since 1958.
“I feel better as time goes by,” he says. “I think it was tough going into the World Cup mentally. You see, so many players are out of the game and now they’re out of the World Cup.
“Obviously it’s in the back of my mind, I’m trying to make sure I’m 100% fit.”
Wales’ first World Cup game coincidentally is against the United States on November 21. And LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo, who won 87 caps for the US national team, joked that Bale would not have the same effect against the players. Americans.
“I’m sure he doesn’t, but I’ll try,” Bale replied.