In what became the shortest appearance of his career — but proved to be his most important — LAFC goalkeeper John McCarthy won Most Valuable Player in the MLS Cup Final and the coveted trophy.
“It was crazy, everything, it’s just surreal to me,” McCarthy said Wednesday.
To further set the scene of Saturday’s event: The final game of the season was in extra time, LAFC’s goalie, Maxime Crépeau, had exited the game with an injury and a red card, and McCarthy came in as the backup against his former team, the Philadelphia Union.
Forward Gareth Bale dramatically tied the tight game, forcing it into a penalty shootout, and it was McCarthy’s time to shine.
The goalie, who signed with LAFC earlier this year, blocked two shots against his former team, giving LAFC their first title since their inaugural season in 2018.
“It’s like a dream moment, it’s something you can’t make up, it was crazy,” McCarthy said.
At the end, he turned and yelled at the crowd as the Banc of California exploded in cheers.
“The noise was just something … it’s like, deafening,” the goalie said.
Moments later, he was crowned MVP, something he said hasn’t really sunk in yet.
“When you say it, it doesn’t make sense, I can’t grasp it. I can’t think of something more special. It’s been the craziest day, game, moment of my life and I’m grateful for it,” McCarthy said.
As for beating his former team of four years, he said it was “bittersweet.”
“The adrenalin rush took over,” McCarthy, who grew up in Philadelphia, said. “But after the game, I wanted to make sure I talked to a couple of the guys from the team, some staff members, and give them hugs.”
He added that it was hard to take a win away from the City of Brotherly Love, because he is a “Philly guy through and through,” especially since he saw the Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series later that day.
Despite that, he said he was happy to be on the winning team, especially since it was LAFC’s first.
“I think it’s going to be a special one for a very long time,” he said.