Quarterfinals too tall a task for NYCFC
by Noah Zimmerman
Aug 05, 2020 | 5562 views | 0 0 comments | 644 644 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A roller coaster run in the “MLS is Back” tournament met its end for New York City FC, falling 3-1 to the Portland Timbers on Saturday.

Once again NYCFC found themselves unable to advance past the quarterfinal round in a tournament, following a big win over Toronto in the Round of 16.

Both clubs fought for an early edge. In the eighth minute, Portland’s Jeremy Ebobisse barely stayed onside before blasting a shot over the bar. In the 24th, an awful giveaway fell to NYC’s Valentin Castellanos who narrowly missed an open net from inside his own half.

Just a few minutes later, Castellanos laid a ball into the path of Jesus Medina. As the Paraguayan struggled to control the ball in the box, Larrys Mabiala clumsily stepped in.

Medina went down somewhat softly, but referee Robert Sibiga pointed to the penalty spot, granting NYCFC a 1-0 lead with Medina netting his third goal of the tournament.

The lead would not survive long. A brilliant pass by Sebastian Blanco found Jorge Villafaña on the wing, who sent in a dangerous ball. The cross was broken up, but the ball fell for Blanco who evened the score before halftime.

Soon after the half, a defensive mishap gave Portland another wide open net. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson flew across the face of the goal to swallow up the chance and narrowly preserve the lead, taking care of the rebound as well.

The chances began to tilt one way, as NYCFC saw an unfortunate resurgence of their poor finishing in the group stage. In the 64th minute, the deadlock finally broke.

With a brilliant flick, Portland again was in open space with Diego Valeri calmly putting the Timbers up. The third came with a wonder-strike in the 76th minute by substitute Andy Polo, dancing around a lost Alex Ring and firing a rocket into the corner.

The result would hold, Portland advancing and NYCFC heading back home to New York. Timbers coach Giovani Savarese improved to a perfect 5-0 record against NYC. The former Cosmos coach triumphed twice in the US Open Cup before three wins with Portland.

Savarese’s squad now faces off against the Philadelphia Union, with the winner taking on Orlando City or Minnesota United in the tournament final.

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