Even With Giving Up Another Last Minute Equalizer, The Boys From The Bronx Take The Silverware.
NYCFC, playing away to the Portland Timbers at the loud and raucous Providence Park, survived a last second Felipe Mora goal and overtime to bring the silverware back to the Bronx. There was a bit of everything in this game, and the first 90 minutes, ending at 1-1, was fun to watch. Here are my takes from yesterday's Final:
I will start with NYCFC"s monster of their midfield, Maximiliano Nicolás "Maxi" Moralez. He is 34-years-old, stands 5'3", and somehow is everywhere on the field. Sometimes taking that second ball from the back, and sometimes feeding their excellent striker Valentín (Taty) Castellanos the ball, Moralez is NY's midfield general. When you have a chance to watch video of him, check out his first touch, which allows him to scan and turn out of pressure 95% of the time.
NYCFC's back line, led by Maxime Chanot, was excellent yesterday afternoon. Chanot and Alexander Callens are pure warriors, and their ability to dominate 50/50 balls, as well as aerial battles, may have made the difference for NY. Chanot is the type of defender you really never want to play against.
Portland never gave up, even with seconds left in regular time, and was rewarded with a Felipe Mora goal. Sure, there was a 'foul' by Portland's veteran defender, Larrys Mabiala, just before Mora's game-tying goal, but no referee, in the last second of a Final, would call that goal back. More importantly, the VAR officials turned a blind eye to allow this Final to head into overtime.
You have to feel bad for Diego Valeri. Possibly playing his last game in a Portland uniform, he was rewarded with playing the last few minutes of regular time and the thirty-minute overtime, only to miss his penalty in the shootout. A great player, a great career, and you have to wonder if another MLS side will take a chance by signing him?
If you missed the strip tease by NYCFC manager Ronny Deila, keep missing it. I know he made a promise to his team...but NO, and NO!!
I have many words for commissioner Don Garber and SVP Dan Courtemanche regarding the delay in pre-game coverage. Unfortunately, or fortunately, that is what happens when you do business with the largest gorilla in the room. ABC/ESPN dictate the programming, not the League, even with the broadcast of a Final. For one, I watched the pregame and match on UniMas. Professional, thorough, and with a play-by-play call that added a good bit of excitement to the match. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy John Champion and Taylor Twellman. They are both excellent, but the UniMas talent added a bit of 'flavor' that was quite enjoyable.
We move on to the 2022 season. It 'starts' later today with a four-hour trade window and Tuesday's expansion draft. Thankfully the 2022 season starts at the end of February, so until then, I wish everyone a happy holiday and all the best for a successful and healthy New Year.
That is my take. @gary1123 justmytake.net
Photo credit: Manchester City Football Club