NYCFC top Timbers on penalties to win MLS Cup for 1st time

Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty

New York City FC earned their first championship win the hard way.

After conceding a late equalizer, Ronny Deila's side bounced back to beat the Portland Timbers on penalties and win the 2021 MLS Cup.

Goalkeeper Sean Johnson made two vital saves, and center-back Alexander Callens blasted home the decisive spot-kick to give NYCFC a 4-2 shootout win Saturday at Providence Park.

NYCFC clinched their first league title in their seventh season.

Timbers forward Felipe Mora sent the game to extra time - and the home crowd into a mad frenzy - when he pounced on a loose ball in the 94th minute. Referee Armando Villarreal allowed the goal to stand despite vociferous claims that NYCFC defender Maxime Chanot was fouled before the equalizer.

Before that, Portland seemed resigned to losing the championship game at home. Valentin Castellanos, Major League Soccer's Golden Boot winner, opened the scoring in the 41st minute with a powerful header that slipped through goalkeeper Steve Clark's fingers.

A fan threw a beer can as NYCFC celebrated the go-ahead tally, striking winger Jesus Medina. The Timbers confirmed the fan was ejected and banned from the stadium indefinitely.

But the visitors had the last laugh. Callens stepped up and executed from 12 yards to deliver the title on hostile territory. Portland, meanwhile, lost in the final for the second time in four campaigns.

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NYCFC top Timbers on penalties to win MLS Cup for 1st time
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