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New York City FC crowned MLS champions

Manchester City’s sister club, New York City FC (NYCFC), have been crowned MLS champions for the first time in their history.

The Boys in Blue are celebrating a maiden MLS Cup victory after a dramatic 4-2 penalty shoot-out win over Portland Timbers at Providence Park.

After skipper and goalkeeper Sean Johnson had saved the opening two Portland penalties, Alexander Callens then struck the all-important decisive spot-kick to seal a famous win

The teams had been deadlocked at 1-1 after an incident-packed 90 minutes and and half an hour of extra time sending the match to a penalty shoot-out.

MLS Golden Boot winner Valentin Castellanos had looked to have secured New York the crown in normal time, the Argentine striker towering to head home Maxi Moralez’ superb 41st minute free-kick amidst driving rain in the Pacific North West.

But in a dramatic finale, Portland substitute Felipe Mora lashed home a 94th minute equaliser with literally the last kick of normal time, sending the showpiece occasion into extra time and the drama of the penalty shoot-out.

It is the first time NYCFC have played in the championship game and the landmark achievement completes a fine campaign for Ronny Deila’s side, who had already broken new ground this season by winning the club’s first trophy with a 2-1 eclipse of Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference Final.

MOMENT TO SAVOUR: Valentin Castellanos (left) celebrates his winner
MOMENT TO SAVOUR: Valentin Castellanos (left) celebrates his winner

With sharp shooter Castellanos in their ranks, NYCFC won 14 of their 34 games to finish fourth in the regular season.

In the playoffs, they beat Atlanta United and New England Revolution, who finished first in the Eastern Conference, before overcoming Philadelphia Union to set up a meeting with the Timbers in the showpiece game.

Their famous victory in Portland sees NYCFC become the 14th club to win the MLS Cup and means they have claimed the biggest prize in United States soccer just eight years after they launched.

In May 2013, NYCFC were officially unveiled as the 20th MLS franchise and they were the second team, after Manchester City, to join the City Football Group portfolio, which today includes 10 clubs from 10 countries across the globe.

Over the course of their journey to the top of the US game, the Bronx-based outfit have shared many links with City.

Patrick Vieira cut his coaching teeth with our Elite Development Squad before taking charge of NYCFC between 2016-18.

He was succeeded by Domenec Torrent, who had previously spent two years as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at the Etihad Stadium, whilst our former women’s first team Head Coach, Nick Cushing, is currently Deila’s assistant coach.

Everyone at Manchester City congratulates Ronny, his players and all the staff at NYCFC on this fantastic achievement.

JUMPING FOR JOY: Alexander Callens celebrates after his decisive penalty
JUMPING FOR JOY: Alexander Callens celebrates after his decisive penalty

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