Portland Timbers vs. New York City FC – MLS Cup Final, Saturday, December 11, 2021
The Portland Timbers welcome New York City FC to Providence Park this Saturday, December 11, as the MLS Cup Final heads to Oregon for the very first time.
The two sides finished only four points apart in the regular-season standings. Fifth-place Portland finished just ahead of eighth-place NYCFC, but that is totally irrelevant now.
The Timbers will be aiming to secure their second MLS Cup, having triumphed back in 2015. As for the Pigeons, this is their maiden appearance in the biggest game of the year.
In this 2021 MLS Cup Final betting preview, I will check out the odds before analyzing the teams. I will then share my prediction for Portland Timbers vs. New York City FC, as well as my MLS Cup pick.
Portland Timbers vs. NYCFC – MLS Cup Final Odds
As you can see, the top Major League Soccer betting sites can barely separate the two MLS Cup finalists. New York City (2.45) is the bookmakers’ marginal favorite, but Portland (3.10) isn’t too far behind.
With so much at stake, the draw (3.10) stands out as a rational option here. Both sides will be desperate to avoid defeat on Saturday, meaning the game could easily go to extra-time.
It’s only right that we take a closer look at the teams before making a Portland Timbers vs. New York City FC prediction.
Portland Timbers Team News and Analysis
The Timbers booked their spot in the showpiece with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake. Felipe Mora opened the scoring after just five minutes before Santiago Moreno sealed the win.
Giovanni Savarese’s men have looked extremely solid throughout the postseason. Indeed, they crushed Minnesota United 3-1 in the first round before beating Colorado 1-0 in the conference semifinals.
The aggregate score of Portland’s postseason games currently stands at 5-1. Not only are they averaging 1.7 goals per game in the playoffs, but they have also kept two clean sheets in the process.
When you look at the bigger picture, Savarese’s men have won ten of their previous 13 outings. It goes without saying that Portland’s preparations for the MLS Cup Final have been impressive.
Dairon Asprilla (10 goals, 4 assists), Yimmi Chara (9 goals, 5 assists), and Sebastian Blanco (9 goals, 6 assists) have starred throughout the campaign. Veteran captain Diego Valeri (4 goals, 2 assists) has played his part, too.
However, it feels like the Timbers’ fate could be decided by their lethal Chilean striker.
This year, Mora has bagged 14 goals and five assists in 36 appearances across all competitions.
He endured something of a subdued end to the regular season, but his goal against RSL in the Western Conference Final emphasized his status as a big-game player.
New York City FC Team News and Analysis
It’s safe to say that New York City’s route to the MLS Cup Final has not been easy.
Ronny Deila’s men were forced to get past a stacked Atlanta United team in round one. They passed that test with flying colors, though, securing an eye-catching 2-0 victory over the Five Stripes.
Next up, the record-breaking New England Revolution stood in their way. The Boys in Blue upset the odds once again, edging out the Supporters’ Shield winners on penalties.
NYCFC heads to Oregon on an eight-match unbeaten run. They have won six of their previous seven outings, scoring a whopping 17 goals along the way.
The Pigeons must be given huge credit for overcoming the Union without their star man. Valentin Castellanos was suspended after seeing red against the Revs, but he is back for the final.
Alongside Jesus Medina (9 goals, 2 assists), Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (7 goals, 2 assists), and Maxi Moralez (4 goals, 13 assists), Castellanos could fire his side to glory.
The 2021 Golden Boot winner has racked up 19 goals and eight assists in 32 MLS outings this season. Having missed the previous game, Castellanos will be eager to make amends on Saturday.
Portland Timbers vs. NYCFC – MLS Cup Final Prediction
Of course, it is difficult to predict exactly how the 2021 MLS Cup Final will pan out. But one thing is certain: Saturday’s showdown will be an epic battle between two top teams.
NYCFC comes into the final on a high, having already dispatched Atlanta, New England, and Philly in the playoffs. Still, I can see the visitors struggling to silence a raucous Oregon crowd at Providence Park.
With that in mind, I’m confident that Portland will get the better of NYCFC on Saturday.
Don’t get me wrong, I expect Deila’s men to put a fight. But it will be extremely difficult for them to overcome the Timbers at Providence Park.
My Portland Timbers vs. New York City FC Betting Pick
Portland Timbers to Win2.60
I’m backing Portland to get the job done on home soil. This is the Timbers’ third MLS Cup Final, so they know what it takes to seal the deal.
On the flip side, NYCFC is appearing in the showpiece for the very first time. Although the visitors have plenty of top-class players, their lack of MLS Cup know-how is likely to cost them.