NYCFC vs Portland Timbers 1-3: Blues eliminated
NYCFC had booked their spot in the quarterfinals thanks to back-to-back wins over Inter Miami and Toronto, while Portland had yet to taste defeat in the bubble, qualifying from Group F along with LAFC and besting FC Cincinnati on penalties in the previous round.
Head Coach Ronny Deila made one enforced change to the lineup which got it done in the Round of 16, bringing in Gary Mackay-Steven for the injury Ismael Tajouri-Shradi on the right wing. Elsewhere, it was as you were, with Héber and Maxi Moralez both once again named among the substitutes for this last eight showdown.
Chasing a second-ever win vs. the Timbers in the sixth meeting, City made a strong start to the game, picking up where they left off last time out with fierce pressing and quick interplay characterizing the start. Taty Castellanos went closest to opening the scoring in the early going with an audacious attempt from his own half which only sailed a foot over Steve Clark’s goal with the ‘keeper chasing back.
The breakthrough for the Boys in Blue came through Jesus Medina’s third goal of the competition, an expertly-taken penalty on 27’ which came as a result of the Paraguayan being tripped inside the area. City would have been decent value going in one-up at the break but Sebastian Blanca prevented that with an instinctive snapshot from just inside the box which left Sean Johnson no chance and made it 1-1 at the interval.
Level at the break, Deila was indebted to his goalkeeper on 54’ when Johnson denied Jeremy Ebobisse with a point-blank save to preserve parity at the end of a Portland break.
Moralez was introduced from the bench on 55’, replacing Mackay-Steven, but it was Medina who almost scored his second of the night moments later after a one-two with Anton Tinnerholm presented him with an opportunity from an acute angle, but Clark narrowed the angle well to make the save.
10 minutes later, Portland completed the turnaround through Diego Valeri, who came off the bench to finish from close range after a loose ball broke to him close to goal.
Chasing for the first time on the night, Héber and Keaton Parks were sent on to try and rescue the situation for NYCFC with 20’ to go, but Andy Polo scored the crucial fourth goal of the match to make it 3-1 on 76’, with an unstoppable long range hit into the top corner, consigning NYC to their tournament exit.