LAFC defeats Nashville, moves back to top of MLS standings in Gareth Bale’s debut

LAFC's Cristian Arango (9) is congratulated after scoring a goal against Nashville SC.
LAFC’s Cristian Arango (9) celebrates after scoring a goal during a 2-1 win over Nashville SC on Sunday.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini made their Major League Soccer debuts for LAFC in a 2-1 win over Nashville on Sunday night.

Bale, Wales’ 33-year-old captain, entered in the 71st minute. The five-time Champions League winner, preparing for Wales’ first World Cup appearance since 1958, joined L.A. after seven seasons with Tottenham and eight with Real Madrid.

Chiellini, a defender who turns 38 next month, started and played until the 60th minute. Chiellini spent 18 seasons with Juventus, earning nine Serie A titles, and has eight goals in 117 appearances for Italy.

Hany Mukhtar scored his 12th league goal of the season for Nashville, one behind the league-leading total of New York City’s Valentin Castellanos.


Jose Cifuentes broke a 1-1 tie when he scored in the 46th minute for LAFC (13-4-3), his career-best sixth goal this season.

Cristian Arango had put the visitors ahead in the 27th minute with his sixth goal in seven games and eighth this season.

Wales star and new LAFC signee Gareth Bale hopes to write a new chapter in L.A. while having fun.

July 12, 2022

Mukhtar scored for his fifth straight match, tying the score for Nashville (8-7-6) when he converted a penalty kick that went in off a post in the 43rd minute. Referee Drew Fischer did not call a foul when Ilie Sanchez pulled down C.J. Sapong on a corner kick, but the penalty was awarded after a video review.

Nashville outshot LAFC 12-10, with three shots on goal to five for LAFC.

Maxime Crepeau saved two of the three shots for LAFC.

Both teams next play Saturday. LAFC visits Sporting Kansas City and Nashville visits Cincinnati.