2021 finalists meet as productive Timbers take on NYCFC

League: MLS

Posted on: 08 Mar, 2024 at 07:56 PM

Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

In 2021, New York City FC bested the Portland Timbers in penalty kicks to win the MLS Cup.

Oh, how times have changed.

Entering the third week of the MLS season, NYCFC are one of three teams yet to score while the Timbers lead the Western Conference with six goals.

The Timbers attempt to keep scoring at a prolific clip while NYCFC hope to find the back of the net for the first time in the early going when the teams convene Saturday afternoon at New York's Yankee Stadium.

Portland (1-0-1, 4 points) has scored its most goals through two matches since also scoring six in 2017. But instead of two wins, the Timbers settled for a 2-2 draw with D.C. United last week.

After scoring three times in the first 29 minutes of a 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids in the season opener, Portland was unable to add on against D.C. United after Dairon Asprilla scored in the first half and Santiago Moreno scored in the 61st minute for a 2-0 advantage. The Timbers gave up two goals in the final 18-plus minutes.

"Maybe six points would have been, probably a little bit of a false narrative going into the next few months," Timbers coach Phil Neville said. "I think four points is pretty fair about where we are as a group. We're a group that's learning, we're a group with massive talent and we're a group that needs to keep working hard."

NYCFC (0-2-0, 0 points), along with Orlando City and Atlanta United, are the only MLS teams without a goal. They are trying to avoid the first 0-3-0 start in team history as they begin a stretch with seven of nine matches at home.

NYCFC followed up their 1-0 loss at Charlotte with a 2-0 setback at St. Louis last week. Against St. Louis, NYCFC took eight shots but only one was on target and they conceded 17 shots.

"We're progressing the ball into good moments and we're creating chances, but we have to execute those moments better to give us more chances to win," NYCFC coach Nick Cushing said.

Portland has five all-time victories over NYCFC, who have won once in the series. Two meetings have ended in ties.

--Field Level Media