MLS: New York City FC are MLS champions after victory on penalties
New York City FC escaped with the MLS title after a penalty shoot-out win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday.
This NYCFC victory by a score of 1 (4) – 1 (2) allows the New York team to savor the first title in its history in the MLS. The meeting gave rise to several twists, including a late goal for Portland and an unsightly gesture from a supporter.
In heavy rain, the author of 19 goals in the regular season, Valentin Castellanos threw a cold shower on the supporters of the Timbers gathered at Providence Park in the 41st minute.
The striker flew on a free kick from Maxi Moralez and his redirection of the head escaped goalkeeper Steve Clark to open the scoring in favor of the New York formation.
During the celebrations, Jesus Medina approached his teammates, but was hit by what appeared to be a can thrown from the stands. The NYCFC player remained on the ground for several minutes after being hit close to the face. He was eventually able to get up to resume the action.
Security was able to identify the supporter who threw the can and the supporter was expelled.
Moralez came close to delivering a hard blow to the Timbers early in the second half, but his shot from a free kick hit the crossbar.
Portland got a good chance on a counter-attack in the last 15 minutes. Yimmi Chara came in front of Sean Johnson, but Maxime Chanot intervened at the last moment to deflect the shot outside the field.
Felipe Mora had the equalizer on foot moments later, but he was unable to redirect Chara’s free kick past the NYCFC keeper who came up.
In what was shaping up to be the last chance for the Timbers to even the score, Mora saw the ball land at his feet in the box while the New York defense was caught off guard. The striker rattled the ropes in the 94th minute to send both teams into extra time.
On the sequence Chanot seemed to be knocked down by a rival which prevented him from doing his job. The defender argued with the official afterwards, but was unsuccessful.
The extra time did not work, so the penalty shootout was necessary.
Mora was held back by Johnson with a superb dive to his right. Clark immediately provided the reply with a stoppage at the expense of Alfredo Morales. The NYCFC keeper once again stood against the second player sent by Portland. He threw himself to his right to make the save against Diego Valeri.
Alexander Callens had the victory at the end of his foot to close the penalty shootout and he did not miss this chance. His net allowed New Yorkers to begin the celebrations of their conquest.
“What a crazy adventure we had this year! There have been so many ups and downs, Johnson commented. We talked to each other before the game and we thought we had a huge chance to make it all worth it. And that’s what we live for, these moments. »
NYCFC won the MLS Cup after entering the playoffs fourth in the Eastern Conference by virtue of a 14-9-11 regular season record.
The players stayed on the pitch long after the game was over. Head coach Ronny Delia stripped down to lift the cup in his underwear as the players drank champagne.
« I don’t regret doing it, it was a great moment, » Delia said. I will continue to do so if we continue to win cups! »
The Timbers also finished fourth in the Western Conference with a 17-13-4 regular season record. During their playoff run, the Timbers showed the exit to favorites the Colorado Rapids, then reserved the same fate for Real Salt Lake before losing to New York.
The Timbers won the MLS Cup in 2015 and also lost in the final to Atlanta in 2018.