PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A magical last-second goal by Felipe Mora was not enough to lift the Timbers to a second MLS Cup as NYCFC won with penalty kicks following a scoreless 30 minutes of extra time.
NYCFC went first, and Vallentin Castellanos buried the shot. Then Felipe Mora shot for the Timbers, but his shot was blocked.
Portland goaltender Steve Clark blocked NYCFC’s second shot, but Diego Valeri’s shot for the Timbers was also blocked.
Maxi Morales gave New York a 2-0 lead when he put a shot up high past Clark. Santiago Moreno got Portland on the board with a laser into the corner of the net.
Talles Magno gave New York a 3-1 lead and then it all came to down to Christhian Paredes, who brought the Timbers to within 3-2.
But Alexander Callens put one under the crossbar to give NYCFC the MLS Cup on penalty kicks, 4-2
The official final: NYCFC 1 (4), Portland Timbers 1 (2).
How they got there
In literally the waning seconds of stoppage time, Felipe Mora found the back of the net to pull the Portland Timbers into a 1-1 tie with NYCFC in the MLS Cup at Providence Park.
It was a dramatic turn of events after the Timbers pulled their goalie just about a minute before Mora hit a laser shot past the goaltender from the center box.
MLS tweeted it was the latest-ever goal in regulation in MLS Cup history.
Portland and New York then played 30 minutes of extra time (two 15-minutes periods). Neither team was able to capitalize on its chances so the MLS Cup was decided by penalty kicks.
Until that moment, it seemed as if NYCFC would take the match.
A header from the box by New York’s Vallentin Castellanos in the 41st minute gave them a 1-0 lead over the Timbers in the MLS Cup at Providence Park.
New York’s goal celebration was marred when 2 fans threw what appeared to be a can from the stands and hit a NYCFC player in the face. Both fans was ejected and banned from Providence Park, the Portland Timbers tweeted within minutes of the incident.
They were also arrested.
Portland police arrested Ivan Carrillo, 24, for throwing the can that hit the player, and Eduardo Ramos, 31, for throwing a can on the field. Both charges are misdemeanors.
A total of 25,218 fans packed into Providence Park for the finals.
The goal from Castellanos came on an assist by Maximiliano Moralez and broke through what had been a tight defensive battle.
The Argentine striker was named Major League Soccer’s Golden Boot winner with 19 goals this season. He’s also well-rested after sitting out the Eastern Conference finals. Castellanos scored six goals in NYCFC’s last four regular-season games.
Portland saw the return of Dairon Asprilla, who was suspended for the match against RSL because of a late red card in the victory over the Rapids. Timbers playmaker Sebastian Blanco, who sustained a hamstring injury against the Rapids and didn’t play against RSL, also returned to the starting lineup. Blanco has seven goals and seven assists this.
The game was chippy at the start, with a brief skirmish breaking out in the 25th minute. Players also had do endure rather nasty weather conditions, with temperatures in the 40s, steady rain and gusty winds.
Valeri came in as a sub in the 89th minute as speculation about the 35-year-old forward’s retirement swirls.
Valeri was with the Timbers when they won the MLS Cup in 2015, scoring in 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 goals and 11 assist.
NYCFC joins parent club Manchester City in the Abu Dhabi-funded group in winning a title. The group now partially or completely owns NYCFC and Manchester City, as well as teams in Australia, Belgium, China, France, India, Japan, Spain and Uruguay with a partnership in Bolivia as well.
Owner Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of Manchester City in 2008 that transformed the fortunes of a team with little track record of success into the Premier League’s most successful team over the last decade.
NYCFC finished 14-9-11 for the fourth seed in the East.
The Timbers were also seeded fourth after going 17-13-4 in the regular season. Portland downed the top-seeded Colorado Rapids on Thanksgiving Day before beating Real Salt Lake 2-0 at Providence Park to win the Western Conference and secure home field for the final.
The Associated Press contributed to this report