The stage is set for a historic MLS Cup that features the top seeds from each conference going head-to-head as Philadelphia Union travels to take on LAFC, Saturday (4 pm ET | FOX, Univision) at Banc of California Stadium.
Both clubs advanced through their respective knockout brackets with first round byes, tight Conference Semifinal victories and emphatic wins in the Conference Finals. Their playoff dominance mirrored the 34-game regular season, which saw each team lead their respective conference nearly wire-to-wire.
Here's everything you need to know about the match, as well as info on how to catch all the action.
How to watch and stream
- Fox, Univision in US
- Saturday, Nov. 5 (4 pm ET/1 pm PT)
- Banc of California Stadium | Los Angeles, Calif.
hiladelphia Union fans wanting to listen to the 2022 MLS Cup with some familiar voices are in luck because legend JP Dellacamera and Danny Higginbotham will call the match live from Los Angeles exclusively on PhiladelphiaUnion.com.
The Union broadcasting duo will set the stage for the biggest match in Union history starting at 3:50 p.m. ET ahead of the 4:05 kick off at Banc of California Stadium.
Due to national broadcast rules, the broadcast will be limited to fans within the Philadelphia DMA. Fans outside the area will be able to view the match on FOX, Univision.
How Both Teams Got Here
Philadelphia Union's identity was a on full display in front of a sold out Subaru Park on Sunday evening as the Union rallied from a second-half deficit with its potent offense to knock off New York City FC, 3-1, and advance to the MLS Cup for the first time in franchise history.
The visitors cracked open the scoring in the 57th minute through a Maxi Morales goal but three-time MLS Goalkeeper Andre Blake responded with a momentum-changing save in the 60th minute to keep the contest at 1-0. The big stop gave the Union a new level of energy which was paid in goals as a quick restart saw Julian Carranza notch the equalizer in the 65th minute. Two minutes, he set up the match-winner with a headed flick to Daniel Gazdag to push the Boys in Blue into a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
LAFC too makes its first appearance in the MLS Cup after knocking off No. 2 seed Austin FC on Sunday afternoon, 3-0. The 2022 Supporters' Shield winners opened the scoring in the 29th minute with a set piece goal from Cristian Arango to jump start the offense. LAFC doubled its advantage in the second half via a Maximiliano Urruti own goal in the 62nd minute before Kwadwo Opoku capped things off with a third for the final result.
With both top seeds Philadelphia Union and LAFC reaching the final, this is the first time since 2003 that both No. 1 seeds will play against each other in MLS Cup.
The two teams did square off earlier in 2022, with a late night thriller in early May that lived up to the heavyweight billing. Returning to the California where the two sides played to a hectic 3-3 draw in 2020, it was end to end action from the opening whistle. Knowing they’d need to capitalize on any scoring chance that presented itself, the Boys in Blue converted in counter attacking fashion. Julian Carranza split the LAFC defense with a timely move inside the center circle and was off to the races and sent a threaded pass to Kai Wagner on the flank to lead the charge. The left back delivered a curling cross that skipped through the defense and led to a calm finish by Daniel Gazdag to make it 1-0 just nine minutes after the opening whistle.
LAFC responded in the second half as Cristian Arango won a clearance and drove into the attacking third. Seeing the transition moment, he fed a pass to José Cifuentes who quickly flicked a pass to Kwadwo Opoku for the one-time finish.
Just like the city they represent, the Union didn’t put their heads down and try to settle for just a lone point on the road. They fought back in the city of stars with Carranza giving the fans one of the most spectacular finishes in 2022 from the Boys in Blue. Daniel Gazdag collected a chested down pass and dribbled centrally to create space. The Hungarian saw Carranza backing down his man like a NBA forward and quickly fed the forward the ball. With a defender draped on his hip, Carranza sent a left-footed flick that bent around the keeper and the post for the Union to make it 2-1.
The home side swung back in the heavyweight prize fight with their abundance of corner kicks finally netting a goal in the 83rd minute. The Union succeeded in getting the first touch but saw it fall to Franco Escobar at the far post. Blake made a strong reaction save but saw it fall right back to the LAFC defender who quickly fired it back at goal for the equalizer.
What is MLS Cup?
MLS teams compete for multiple trophies throughout the year, but MLS Cup is the one that determines the league's champion after representatives from both the Eastern and Western Conference face off in one final deciding match.
The format has changed throughout the years, but one thing has remained constant: Only one team will be left standing once the dust settles, and will cement their place in history, while everyone else will have to start over next year.
What is the format?
MLS Cup is a single-elimination, winner-take-all format, the same as the rest of the playoffs.
If the match finishes in a draw, two 15-minute extra-time periods will be played to decide a winner. If no one finishes on top after extra time, the champion will be decided by a penalty-kick shootout.