PORTLAND, OR – After five consecutive playoff appearances, New York City FC finally got over the hump and took home their first MLS Cup trophy Saturday. Despite an electric-charged Portland crowd, New York FC defeated the Timbers 1-1 (4-2) on penalty kicks at a rainy Providence Park.
Both sides came out aggressive, committing 17 penalties in the first period, but struggled to get good looks offensively. Portland committed a foul in the 40th minute that set up a free kick for Maximiliano Morales, which was found by 2021 Golden Boot winner Valentin Castellanos for NYCFC’s first goal of the day.
After a slow first period, Portland attacked NYCFC and their goalie Sean Johnson more in the second but didn’t find success there either. It looked like NYCFC would defeat the Timbers in regulation as they led 1-0 heading into the 90th minute, but 4 minutes of stoppage time proved to be all Portland needed to keep their hopes alive. With 3:53 of stoppage time played, Felipe Mora scored on a rebound tying the match at 1 and sending them to overtime. Mora’s goal is the latest-recorded regulation goal in MLS Cup final history.
Looking for their second star and first championship in front of a home crowd, Portland was hoping for their storybook ending in extra time. That moment of magic almost came to light as fan favorite and all-time Timbers’ great Diego Valeri got an open look early in extended time but missed high.
Neither team was able to score in extended time, so the match was decided with penalty kicks where an impressive performance by Sean Johnson gave NYCFC the edge. Valentin Castillanos stepped up big again for New York City, scoring on the first penalty kick. Johnson then gave New York City Football Club the advantage by saving Portland’s first two penalty kicks from Felipe Mora and Diego Valeri and would defeat the Timbers in the penalty kick shootout 4-2.