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MLS Cup Final: Portland Timbers vs New York City


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Ghost Tipster

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MLS Cup Final: Portland Timbers vs New York City

The matchup:

The 2021 MLS Cup Final is set to be a great game to end the season. Portland Timbers host New York City in what should be a thrilling match. Both sides came fourth in their respective conferences, which shows the unpredictability of the playoffs as they make it to the final game of the season.

Portland Timbers’ road to the MLS Cup Final has been impressive with solid defensive displays, only conceding one goal in their three playoff games. They overcame the odds with a last-gasp away win against Western Conference table-toppers Colorado Rapids thanks to Larrys Mabiala’s goal to make it to the Western Conference final. Then, up against Real Salt Lake, the Timbers got off to a flying start with a goal in the fifth minute, eventually winning 2-0 with the second coming from Santiago Moreno in the 61st minute.

In comparison, New York City’s route has been a rollercoaster of emotions. It started with a comfortable 2-0 home win against Atlanta United to kick off the playoffs. The next game saw them take on New England Revolution, who finished the regular season top of the Eastern Conference. A frantic start saw both teams score inside the first 10 minutes of the match, but it eventually went to spot kicks, and the visitors came out victorious. In the Eastern Conference Final, New York City again found themselves playing away, this time to Philadelphia Union, against whom they came from behind to win 2-1 with an 88th-minute winner.

A real strength to this City side can be seen in their resilience and determination, which has seen them overcome the odds and surprise the big teams. They go into this match with one day less to prepare and will have to fly across the country to arrive in Portland. However, this is unlikely to faze them, and they’ll be in high spirits after two big wins against opponents that most sportsbooks had as favorites to win.

New York City boast the third-highest expected goals in the entire MLS, with 1.79 showing their ability to create chances. However, they have only been able to keep two clean sheets when playing away all season. Portland Timbers has only failed to score at home once, finding the net a remarkable 40 times in 19 games at Providence Park. In finals, the team that can handle the pressure of the big occasion often come out on top. We can see this one being a close game with both clubs showing they can handle their nerves on the big stage.

One to watch: Valentín Castellanos

New York City go into this game with the return of their star striker Valentín Castellanos, which will be a huge morale boost for the squad. The 23-year-old was made to miss the Eastern Conference Final after receiving a red card in the round before. Now his one-match suspension is over, the Argentinian will be looking to end the season with a bang. During the regular season, Castellanos was the joint-top goalscorer with 19 goals in 34 games. He also provided eight assists, which combined means he was involved in 48% of the goals New York City scored. His worth to the squad was already established before the playoffs, but he continued to score vital goals in each playoff game he was involved in. Castellanos will have been gutted to miss the game against Philadelphia but will now be relishing his second chance up against Portland Timbers. We back the talented striker to find the net once again in the MLS Cup Final.

Conclusion:

Portland Timbers will go into this year’s MLS Cup Final as favorites. The home side has competed in three MLS Cup Finals in the past seven years. In contrast, this is New York City’s first time in the MLS championship decider. Timbers has the extra advantage of hosting the final for the first time, and we expect to see Providence Park booming - which will make for an amazing atmosphere. However, it would be silly to expect an easy game for Portland. As shown in their playoff games, New York City are a major threat to any team in the MLS, with plenty of attacking potential making them a real danger to play against. We can’t wait to see how this one unfolds!

MLS Cup Final picks:

- Both teams to score (-152)

- Castellanos to score anytime (+160)

- Blanco to score anytime (+250)

- Correct Result, 1-1 (+500)

- Portland Timbers to win either half (-120)

MLS odds

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Total
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Odds updated: Jan 26, 11:30 PM UTC

MLS standings

East
West
  • Division
  • Eastern Conference
  • All Divisions
Team G W D L GD Pts
1 Atlanta United FC Atlanta United FC 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 CF Montréal CF Montréal 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Charlotte FC Charlotte FC 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Chicago Fire Chicago Fire 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Columbus Crew SC Columbus Crew SC 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 D.C. United D.C. United 0 0 0 0 0 0

Last updated: Jan 26, 11:25 PM UTC

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