Philadelphia has never been what you would call the most cheerful sports town, but its misery reached new heights on Saturday.
The city lost both the MLS Cup and the World Series in the span of about five hours, going from the Philadelphia Union’s heartbreaking loss to LAFC to another dramatic loss for the Philadelphia Phillies that clinched the World Series for the Houston Astros.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the first time a city has ever last two championships in one day.
To be fair, it’s pretty hard to lose two championships in one day as you either need the MLS Cup to coincide with the World Series or the NBA Finals to line up with the Stanley Cup finals. Regardless, Philadelphia has had better days.
But at least the Philadelphia Eagles are undefeated.
The Union’s loss to LAFC was absurd
It isn’t hyperbole to say Saturday’s MLS Cup was the greatest game in the history of the league.
In a meeting between the best records of the Eastern and Western Conference, the Union and LAFC traded two goals before heading into extra time. Then things got weird.
The Union seemingly won the match and the title when Jack Elliott connected for a goal in stoppage time.
And then Gareth Bale, a winger long removed from his days as an elite player in Europe, a man who had logged only six minutes for LAFC since mid-September, scored the latest goal in MLS history:
The match ended up going to penalty kicks, where the Union should have the advantage thanks to the red card and injury that knocked out LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau. Instead, journeyman backup keeper John McCarthy stepped in for LAFC and logged two saves to take the title.
Compared to the soccer match, the Phillies’ loss was straightforward, but no less of a gut punch.
Philadelphia entered Game 6 in Houston down 3-2 and needing a win to force a Game 7. It had a starting pitcher up to the task in Zack Wheeler, who shut out the Astros for the first five innings. Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber opened the door for some hope with a solo homer in the top of the sixth inning, but then Wheeler ran into some trouble in the bottom of the inning.
Phillies manager Rob Thomson opted to lift Wheeler for reliever Jose Alvarado to face Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez. Here’s how that worked out:
Three innings later, Houston was celebrating its World Series title.