ORLANDO, Fla. – The inaugural MLS is Back tournament saw incredible upsets, breakout stars, and unthinkable moments. It felt only fitting that the finale to this tournament be a duplicate of the tournament as a whole. Portland Timbers FC ended up wining the MLS is Back final.
MLS is Back Final: Portland Timbers win it all
That was the case on Tuesday night, when the Portland Timbers were crowned MLS is back Champions following their 2-1 victory vs. Orlando City. three goals, seven yellow cards, and an intense atmosphere from the bench capped off the immaculate tourney.
The Sides Swap Jabs
Many tournament finals get criticized for a lack of goals, with both teams playing too safely being the catalyst. As with most things surrounding this tournament, this notion was not the case.
The scoring would commence 27’ in, when Larrys Mabiala scored from a beautifully delivered set piece by Diego Valeri.
Orlando would gain control of the match following the opener, cultivating in a 39’ equalizer by Mauricio Pereyra
Portland Pull Through
It would be Portland that would gain control in the second half thanks to a dominant performance in midfield by Diego Valeri. It was a match to remember for the Argentine, who’s coolness on the ball helped dictate Portland’s momentum in the second half.
That form would bear fruit in the 66’, after a Valeri corner set up Dario Zuparic to redirect a shot into the back of the net. The center halves first goal as a Portland Timber would break the deadlock for good.
Orlando never grabbed a hold of the match following Zuparic’s goal, with low percentage set pieces highlighting their chances until the final whistle blew.
With the Timbers victorious, they add another trophy to a decorated cabinet. They also earned a trip to the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time since 2016. The Timbers schedule doesn’t get easier from here, as Portland is set to play the Seattle Sounders in their first match back into the regular season.