NYCFC wins MLS Cup, beating Portland Timbers in shootout for title

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After greater than a decade in Main League Soccer, goalkeeper Sean Johnson was lastly capable of elevate the championship trophy.

He earned an MLS Cup MVP award, too.

Johnson stopped a pair of Portland penalties and New York Metropolis FC gained its first MLS Cup title in a shootout after a 1-1 draw with the Timbers on Saturday. Alex Callens transformed on his try to clinch the shootout, 4-2.

Afterward, a teammate stuffed the cup with champagne and handed it to Johnson, who took a drink. Johnson has been in MLS since 2010, first with the Chicago Fireplace. He joined the NYCFC in 2017.

New York Metropolis FC ahead Valentin Castellanos (11) celebrates with the trophy after their penalty kick shootout win over the Portland Timbers within the MLS Cup soccer sport, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, in Portland, Ore. (AP Picture/Amanda Loman) ((AP Picture/Amanda Loman))

« What a experience to this point, this journey was loopy this yr. So many up so many downs, » Johnson mentioned. « We talked amongst ourselves earlier than the sport and simply mentioned it’s a large alternative to make all of it price it. And that is what we reside for, these moments. To be to be the MVP of the finals, I imply it means the world, nevertheless it means a lot extra to elevate the cup for this for this membership. »

Golden Boot winner Valentin « Taty » Castellanos scored within the opening half and it appeared that NYCFC was on its approach to the league championship in regulation, however Portland’s Felipe Mora scored in stoppage time to offer the Timbers hope.

Johnson NYCFC’s captain, stopped PKs from Mora and Diego Valeri within the shootout after the 2 groups went scoreless in further time.

« I simply needed to guarantee that we stayed degree, we’ve been in that place earlier than. I instructed the fellows that we have now the expertise, to not panic, to not get down on ourselves, as a result of there’s extra of a possibility to go ahead and win the sport, » he mentioned about guiding the staff to the end.

NYCFC celebrated in entrance of the aim after Callens transformed, whereas Valeri lay in the course of the sector in disbelief. A bunch of New York gamers broke off from the occasion to salute their followers, grouped within the reverse nook of the stadium.

New York Metropolis FC gamers have fun their penalty kick shootout win over the Portland Timbers within the MLS Cup soccer sport, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, in Portland, Ore. (AP Picture/Amanda Loman) ( (AP Picture/Amanda Loman))

New York stayed on the sector lengthy after the victory. Coach Ronny Delia stripped all the way down to his underwear and lifted the trophy.

« I don’t remorse that, it was an enormous second, » Delia mentioned. « I’ll carry on doing that if we carry on profitable trophies. »

NYCFC, which joined the league in 2015, had by no means superior to the title sport.

Castellanos, who had 19 objectives within the common season, was again within the beginning lineup after lacking the Japanese Convention ultimate in opposition to Philadelphia. The Argentine striker was handed a pink card within the convention semifinals in opposition to the top-seeded New England Revolution, which NYCFC gained on a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw.

New York’s 2-1 victory over at Philadelphia secured NYCFC a spot within the MLS Cup ultimate. NYCFC was the fourth seed within the East after ending the common season 14-9/11.

The Timbers had been additionally seeded fourth after going 17-13-4 within the common season. Portland downed the top-seeded Colorado Rapids on Thanksgiving Day earlier than beating Actual Salt Lake 2-0 at Windfall Park to win the Western Convention and safe dwelling subject for the ultimate.

The Timbers gained an MLS Cup in 2015 and went to the ultimate in 2018 however fell to Atlanta.

Los jugadores del New York Metropolis FC festejan tras ganar la ultimate de la MLS, por penales ante los Timbers de Portland, el sábado 11 de diciembre de 2021 (AP Foto/Amanda Loman) ( (AP Foto/Amanda Loman))

« It feels merciless, it feels bitter, it feels troublesome to just accept. Earlier than we be taught one thing from it, we have to really feel and perceive the feelings that we’re going to have after this match, to not obtain what was our aim, to elevate the trophy at dwelling, » Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese mentioned. « We couldn’t have considered extra stunning state of affairs for us than lifting that trophy. So the very first thing is handle our feelings and are available to the conclusion that it occurred this fashion. The sport may be merciless. »

The sport was chippy at the beginning, with a short skirmish breaking out within the twenty fifth minute. Gamers additionally needed to endure reasonably nasty climate circumstances with temperatures within the 40s, regular rain and gusty winds.

Castellanos scored on a header off a free kick from Maxi Moralez within the fortieth minute, giving NYCFC the early lead. The aim celebration was marred when it appeared that New York’s Jesus Medina was struck by an object thrown by a fan.

It was the primary set-piece aim that the Timbers had allowed in 20 video games.

The Timbers at occasions regarded disorganized. Mora had among the best probabilities within the second half, however his shot within the 81st minute fell immediately within the fingers Johnson. He had one other within the 97th however his header sailed effectively over the web.

Mora lastly broke via within the ultimate moments of four-minutes of stoppage time. It was the most recent aim ever scored in regulation in an MLS Cup.

However the aim was controversial. NYCFC gamers argued that it ought to be disallowed, claiming that Maxime Chanot was fouled by Portland’s Larrys Mabiala within the run-up. In the long run,

New York Metropolis FC gamers have fun their penalty kick shootout win over the Portland Timbers within the MLS Cup soccer sport, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, in Portland, Ore. (AP Picture/Amanda Loman) ((AP Picture/Amanda Loman))

« The primary half was just a little bit troublesome, as a result of New York tried to regulate the ball, management the sport. They discovered a approach to rating on us, and made it tougher on us, » Portland’s Diego Chara mentioned. « Within the second half, we discovered a approach to tie the sport. I feel after that it was totally different for us, getting confidence, enjoying with the ball, and we created quite a lot of alternatives. »

Valeri got here in as a sub within the 89th minute as hypothesis in regards to the 35-year-old ahead’s retirement swirls.

Valeri was with the Timbers once they gained the MLS Cup in 2015, scoring within the opening moments of the 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew. He was named the league’s MVP in 2017 after racking up 21 objectives and 11 assists.

NYCFC joins father or mother membership Manchester Metropolis within the Abu Dhabi-funded group in profitable a title. The group now partially or utterly owns NYCFC and Manchester Metropolis, in addition to groups in Australia, Belgium, China, France, India, Japan, Spain and Uruguay with a partnership in Bolivia as effectively.

Proprietor Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of Manchester Metropolis in 2008 that reworked the fortunes of a staff with little observe document of success into the Premier League’s most profitable staff over the past decade.

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