NYCFC Makes MLS Cup

The team hopes to take home another trophy after earning their first with a triumphant Eastern Conference Finals victory./Associated Press

By Billy Wood

 

   The New York City Football Club (NYCFC) is going to the Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup final on Saturday, Dec. 11, for the first time in their seventh competitive season.

   The road to the final was no easy feat. On Tuesday, Nov. 30, NYCFC was able to advance to the Eastern Conference final by beating the New England Revolution 5-3 on penalties after an emotional game. They took an early lead as midfielder Santiago Rodríguez scored in the third minute. The Revolution was able to equalize a few minutes later as centre forward Adam Buksa scored in the ninth minute. 

   Both teams headed to extra time after remaining 1-1, following 90 minutes of grueling action at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. NYCFC looked certain to advance when Valentín Castellanos scored in the 109th minute. The celebration did not last too long as he was sent off four minutes later after being shown the night’s second yellow card. With a man down for the remainder of the game, Revolution was able to equalize at the 118th minute by Tajon Buchanan. His goal sent both teams to penalties where NYCFC would advance in a dramatic fashion.

   In the Eastern Conference finals, NYCFC played Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. After a scoreless first half, the game picked up pace in the second. Union got on the scoresheet first in the 63rd minute as Alexander Callens scored their own goal. NYCFC responded two minutes later when Maximiliano Moralez equalized. With the game looming to go to extra time, Talles Magno was able to score the winning goal in the 88th minute – two minutes away from regular time. 

   With that goal, they were crowned the Eastern Conference champions. “This club has already gone through a lot already at a young age and today we have for a third time had success and we bring the first trophy to the club,” said NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila, MLS reported. “I’m sure it’s not going to be the last.”

   NYCFC will play the Portland Timbers in the final this coming Saturday at Providence Park in Portland. This will be the first meeting between these two teams this season. Their last game was a 3-1 win for Portland in August 2020. This will be the Timbers’ third MLS Cup final, after having lifted the trophy in 2015.

   NYCFC coach Deila is aware of the Timbers’ history in the cup finals but knows that if his team puts more energy into the game and leaves everything out on the field, they can beat anybody. 

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