Philadelphia Union was missing 11 players due to MLS COVID protocols, but played gamely until the dying moments of their match with NYCFC. City scored the winning goal just two minutes before the end of normal time and will play the Portland Timbers away in their first trip to the MLS Cup. The Eastern Conference final also marked a premiere for City this season.

Portland vs NYCFC
Portland vs NYCFC is the big MLS Cup final. (Image: Twitter/mls)

Even though they couldn’t count on key players, Union bravely approached the game, and even opened the scoring after 64 minutes. Kacper Przybyłko swung a ball into the opposite box and NYCFC’s Alexander Callens was unfortunate enough to put it past his keeper for an own goal. But City’s reply was firm and came after just a few seconds of joy for the Union faithful. Maxi Morales equalized, then City became more and more commanding as minutes went by. Second-half substitute Talles Mango finished from close range to put the visitors in front for good in the 88th minute

NYCFC will now head to Portland for the MLS Cup final, which is due to be played at Providence Park on Saturday at 3 PM ET.

Bookies anticipate an even match

Timbers became the favorite to lift the MLS Cup after New England was knocked out by New York City FC in the East’s semifinals. Timbers managed to conserve their status, but City has closed the gap. The hosts of the MLS Cup final are now at +145 to win, with New York City at +160. A draw in normal time stands at +210.

At +500, a 1-1 draw is the most likely result, according to the bookies. BTTS is at -150, with a bet on Portland to lead at halftime at +200. Timbers winning at halftime and also at the end of the game returns +325, while the same bet on City brings +350.