Philadelphia Union Goals: Callens (OG) 63’
New York City FC Goals: Moralez 65’, Talles Magno 88'
New York City FC traveled to Subaru Park on Sunday to face Philadelphia Union in the Club’s first ever Eastern Conference Final. A tense game sparked into life when Alex Callens scored an unfortunate own goal in the 63rd minute. That was almost instantly canceled out by a Maxi Moralez finish from close range two minutes later. The game continued to go back and forth until the 88th minute when two substitutes - Gudi Thórarinsson and Talles Magno - combined for the Brazilian to score from close range. That was enough to seal the victory and crown New York City FC as Eastern Conference Champions - securing their place in MLS Cup.
New York City FC were hoping to make more history on Sunday afternoon as they took on the Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference Final.
Head Coach Ronny Deila made one change to the starting XI that overcame New England Revolution on penalties last time out, with striker Héber replacing the suspended Taty Castellanos.
The game began at an electric pace as the hosts looked to start on the front foot. That forced a cagey first fifteen minutes with few chances and little rhythm to proceedings.
In the 31st minute, the hosts managed to carve an opportunity out down the right hand side and that forced defender Alex Callens to make an important interception and turn the ball behind for a corner.
That was followed six minutes later with an effort from Kacper Przybylko. The Polish forward was able to make a run in behind and get a shot away, but it was well saved by goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
The second half began with a chance for Leon Flach to open the scoring, but his effort was well saved by Johnson. The tempo of the game began to settle and that allowed for more sustained possession to break out as both teams attempted to exert a sense of control.
In the 55th minute, a nice combination between Héber and Santiago Rodríguez allowed the latter to lay the ball back for Jesús Medina to strike, but his effort was comfortable for the goalkeeper.
Head Coach Ronny Deila made the bold decision to introduce a trio of substitutes in the 58th minute and that saw Héber, Medina, and Malte Amundsen swapped out for Talles Magno, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Gudi Thórarinsson.
It would be the hosts that took the lead in the 63rd minute, however, when a deep cross from Daniel Gazdag was unfortunately turned into his own net by Callens.
Sparked into action, NYCFC produced an instant reply after a Maxime Chanot effort from distance rebounded back into the area. After some pinball in the box Maxi Moralez put his foot on the ball and converted from close range.
The visitors thought they had the lead in the 76th minute when a well-worked set-piece allowed Callens to head towards goal, but Philadelphia managed to scramble it away.
They would not be denied in the 88th minute, however, after some tenacious play by Thórarinsson down the left allowed him to steal in and square the ball across goal to Talles Magno to smash home.
There was almost a third in the 91st minute when a smart run in behind by Moralez allowed him a shot at goal from a narrow-angle that flashed past the goal and out of play.
Now asked to see out the final minutes of the game, the Boys in Blue did just that to be crowned Eastern Conference Champions and secure their place in the 2021 MLS Cup Final.
Heineken Man of the Match
How We Lined Up
Next up for New York City FC is a meeting with Portland Timbers in the MLS Cup Final on Saturday, December 11. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00PM EST on ABC (YES App/NYCFC.com/Radio).