LAFC clinches best MLS regular season mark with 2-1 win
LOS ANGELES, Oct 3, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Denis Bouanga scored the winning goal five minutes into stoppage time Sunday to give Los Angeles FC a 2-1 victory at Portland and clinch Major League Soccer's regular-season crown.
The 27-year-old winger for Gabon's national team, who played for Saint-Etienne in France until joining LAFC in August, netted the decider to give the team a second Supporters' Shield in four seasons.
Mexican striker Carlos Vela, LAFC's captain, opened the scoring in the 51st minute but the host Timbers had equalized in the 81st on Colombian Dairon Asprilla's goal.
LAFC improved to 21-8 with four drawn for 67 points, 12 ahead of second-place Austin for the Western Conference lead and three points ahead of Eastern Conference leader Philadelphia, 18-5 with 10 drawn, with the season ending next Sunday.
With the victory, LAFC clinches the top seed, a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the upcoming playoffs as well as a berth in the 2023 CONCACAF Champions League.
First-year head coach Steve Cherundolo has guided LAFC to the top after a ninth-place showing in last year's Western Conference table and set a record for any first-year MLS coach with Sunday's victory.