After 5 weeks and 51 video games within the bubble in Central Florida, the MLS is Again Match title belongs to the Portland Timbers.
Objectives from central defenders Larrys Mabiala and Dario Zuparicon on both facet of halftime have been sufficient for the Timbers to eke previous tourney “host” Orlando Metropolis 2-1 in Tuesday’s onerous fought finale, which was performed 34 days after the one-off occasion — created to restart the MLS following a four-month, coronavirus-caused hiatus — started on the Walt Disney World campus.
And it was the Timbers’ heart backs — and never all-league attackers Sebastian Blanco and Diego Valeri — who offered the magic. Mabiala opened the scoring within the twenty seventh minute, powering dwelling his header off a pinpoint Valeri free kick:
But the Lions, the poster kids for disappointment and mismanagement after failing to make the MLS Cup playoffs in every of their first 5 seasons after coming into america and Canada’s prime flight in 2015 however who’ve appeared like something however in 2020 below first-year coach Oscar Pareja — evened issues up once more earlier than the primary half was over.
Following some shifty strikes by star attraction Nani to get free, pocket-sized (5-foot-5) playmaker Mauricio Pereyra corralled a cross from the previous Manchester United winger and tourney MVP candidate to poke dwelling the tying purpose:
Portland’s superior depth and expertise prevailed ultimately, although, with the Timbers restoring their benefit for good with a few half-hour to play when Zuparic scored the winner from the doorstep.
As soon as once more, the purpose started with a set piece from Valeri. This time the Argentine playmaker’s service discovered Eryk Williamson, whose shot was redirected by fellow up-and-comer Jeremy Ebobisse. The ball ultimately fell to Zuparic, who steered the winner previous Lions keeper Pedro Gallese at point-blank vary:
The victory marks the Timbers second after their 2015 MLS Cup overcome the Columbus Crew. Portland additionally reached the league’s championship match two years in the past, dropping to Atlanta United.