It was a tough afternoon for the hosts, who hoped to finally fulfil their dreams of lifting the trophy in front of fans in Portland. The Timbers won the Cup in 2015 against the Columbus Crew as visitors at Columbus Crew Stadium.
The heavy Oregon rain set the stage for the dramatic league final as the Timbers welcomed New York City FC at Providence Park, their first time ever hosting.
The visiting side kicked off stronger, culminating in a 41st minute goal from Golden Boot winner Valentin Castellanos. Coming from a free kick by Maximiliano Moralez , Taty worked his magic to head the ball past Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark and into the net for the 1-0 lead.
The visiting NYCFC supporters erupted into chaos as “MVP” chants for Taty echoed throughout Providence Park.
It appeared that the game would be sealed with the lone goal, but suddenly an extra time goal by Felipe Mora breathed life into the Timber Army. Confetti could be seen everywhere as the green and red spoke of flares filled the area. Suddenly, there was hope going into overtime and eventual penalties.
But Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese did not share the sentiment, he knew the following few minutes would be ‘cruel’.
“Soccer can be cruel because only one can win. And when it’s in PKs, it’s even worse,” Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese said postgame. “So I have to make sure that we don’t forget the most important part, is that this game today showed why it’s in the final, why we fought through a difficult season. For me, they are champions. But it’s difficult not to lift the trophy at home.”
This is now the second final they lose, after suffering a bitter defeat in 2018 against Atlanta United.
“It feels cruel, it feels sour, it feels difficult to accept. So before we learn something from it, we need to feel and understand the emotions that we’re going to have after this match, not to achieve what was our goal to lift a trophy at home. We couldn’t have thought about a more beautiful situation for us than lifting the trophy, “ Savarese added.
“As I believe every experience enriches in you, in anything you have to do, it’s not only about your career and the things that each player will do and also as a team and me as a coach – these are learning lessons for life as well. But before we learn we have to still sink and manage the emotions that unfortunately we will have from now until who knows when about not achieving this goal and celebrating the championship at home.”
The Timbers now have the 2022 season to look forward to, which is set to kick off on February 26. For now, several questions remain about Portland’s roster and whether it will stay intact for next season.