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The 2021 MLS Cup Final is ready after New York City beat Philadelphia Union as a visitor at Subaru Park for 2-1. The home team suffered eleven absences due to Covid-19 protocols. Jim Curtin´s team played with few players that never saw minutes during the regular season.
Philadelphia Union suffered their Covid-19 absences
Despite plenty of intent, the two sides struggled to make another breakthrough and extra-time loomed. But this is MLS, things rarely pan out how you expect them to. Philly right-back Olivier Mbaizo was guilty of ball-watching, with Gudmundur Thorarinsson stealing in and setting up Talles Magno for a dramatic late winner.
Goals from Maxi Moralez and Talles Magno were enough to seal the Pigeons' trip to Portland next weekend, canceling out an Alexander Callens own goal just after the hour mark.
NYCFC reaches the MLS Cup final for the first time. They achieve it in just their seventh season in the league. And they become the second team from the Big Apple to reach the final (New York Red Bulls did it in 2008).
Portland Timbers to host the final
MLS Cup is hosted by the playoffs team with the highest regular-season points total, and the Timbers accrued 55 points across the league’s 34 games.
Given their record, the Portland side will host the final against New York City FC at Providence Park in what head coach Giovanni Savarese described as a “dream come to reality.”
“To be able to host MLS Cup is a dream come to reality. It is not only an event for Providence Park, it is for the city of Portland. We'll enjoy this tonight, but now we need to prepare very well to be ready for whoever we have to play in MLS Cup. But the guys are very happy with the performance they were able to produce tonight,” Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese said postgame.
“This team works so hard, the players, the staff, everyone, on a difficult season. The guys were able to turn things around and we host this game here. It was something that we wanted to have and it became a reality.
”But I think the most important thing is that the players understood the moment and we knew we were playing against a difficult team and I felt we put a very strong performance tonight.”
The Timbers have reached their third MLS Cup in seven years since joining the league as an expansion team in 2011. They defeated the Columbus Crew in 2015 to lift the trophy, but lost to Atlanta United in 2018. Both of those finals were on the road for Portland. This is the first time ever the team is set to host.
The 2021 MLS Cup Final will be played next Saturday, December 11th at Providence Park, home of Portland Timbers.