Podcast: MLS Cup reaction, Ashley Cole to NYCFC & Swansea’s troubles discussed

In the latest MLSGB podcast, Zack Walford talks to Louis East and Jamie Ives about Sunday’s MLS Cup Final as Portland Timbers lifted a first ever championship.

The team also discuss recent reports linking Ashley Cole to New York City FC and the Premier League.

And we finish with Swansea City and Garry Monk’s struggles with the team in recent weeks.

Remember to send us your thoughts on Twitter: @MLSGB_

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Portland secure first ever MLS Cup – Match report from Columbus

The Portland Timbers came into Columbus and the MLS Cup game as underdogs, but left as MLS Cup champions, triumphing over the Columbus Crew 2-1, with early goals from Diego Valeri and Rodney Wallace sealing the historic victory.

The Timbers enjoyed a dream start within 27 seconds of kickoff, when midfielder Diego Valeri took advantage of Columbus Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark’s horrendous error.

Valeri made a strong tackle on the ‘keeper and the Timbers quickly found themselves up 1-0 to the complete disbelief of the Crew and their fans.

Valeri’s goal was the fastest goal ever scored in MLS Cup history.

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The Crew struggled to connect on their passes early on due to the Timbers’ high pressure on the midfield and defense. It eventually led to a crucial turnover that the Timbers capitalised on in the 7th minute to make it 2-0.

Portland midfielder Darlington Nagbe found winger Lucas Melano, who crossed it into the six-yard box. Rodney Wallace connected with a flying header and put the ball into the back of the Crew’s net to further stun the home crowd.

Controversy couldn’t stay away from this cup final, as replays later showed that the ball won by Powell in the build up to the goal was actually a couple of feet out of play.

Portland and Columbus had probably planned for most eventualities. But being two up after seven minutes is a strange situation for any side, let alone an away side in a final. The Timbers started the game like it was the 87th minute, and not the 7th.

With their backs against the wall, the Crew quickly came alive and regained control of the game. They continued to find chances in the first half and were eventually rewarded in the 18th minute.

The home team found fullback Harrison Afful, who crossed it into the penalty area. A goal-mouth scramble ensued and league-leading scorer Kei Kamara was on hand to finish.

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Portland looked happy to hear the halftime whistle and head coach Caleb Porter sent them out in the second half with a solid game plan to hit Columbus on the break.

The Crew dominated possession and created chances. However, their finishing left them wanting, as they were unable to register a shot on target in the second half.

Portland took advantage of the Crew playing high up the field by countering back whenever they found the chance. That led to two huge opportunities that hit the woodwork as a third goal looked more likely that a Columbus equaliser.

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The first left the Crew scrambling on a corner, as the ball fell to Wallace, who had his shot saved by Clark. The clearance then hit the crossbar before getting cleared.

The second chance came for Timbers striker Fanendo Adi as his header from Jorge Villafana’s cross hit the far post before hitting Steve Clark, who fumbled the ball out of bounds.

Both teams continued to fight tooth and nail for every loose ball and take any shot they could get. But as the final minutes of added time came and went the final whistle blew, the Timbers rushed onto the field knowing that they just won their first ever MLS Cup.

Portland Timbers’ MLS Cup success “hasn’t sunk it yet”

Portland Timbers made history by winning a first ever MLS Cup title by beating Columbus Crew 2-1 at MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday night.

Portland head coach Caleb Porter admitted after the game that the team’s success had yet to fully register after a long but eventually successful season.

“It’s a great feeling, great feeling. All I could think about was sharing that moment with my players; we have been through a long season,” Porter said.

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“We have been together through highs and lows and they deserve all the credit, they are the ones playing the game inside of the lines and they had belief. I don’t think it has fully sunk in completely yet.”

The Timbers became the first team to win an MLS Cup championship away from home since the homefield advantage rule came into effect. They won more road games than anyone else in 2015 and extended that trend when it mattered most on Sunday.

Porter admitted that it wasn’t the smoothest of seasons but lauded the character of the Timbers team for the way that consistently battle.

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“A lot has been made of it not being smooth, but I think that is MLS. Every team goes through rough patches and that’s a big part of succeeding in this league. You have to survive and you have to keep the guys together and the locker room together.

“We haven’t always gone on long winning streaks, but when we do lose, we respond and get big wins and that’s what we did this year. Every time I think people thought that we were down and out, we pop up with a big result, the players deserve credit for that, that shows their character.”

Kei Kamara left to “soak in” Portland celebrations by remaining on pitch

It was tough not to feel sympathetic for Kei Kamara as the Portland Timbers celebrated their first ever MLS Cup championship at MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday night.

The Columbus Crew star man’s goal wasn’t enough to complete a comeback as Portland won the 2015 MLS Cup Final by a 2-1 scoreline in Ohio, becoming the first team to lift the trophy on the road since the home advantage rule was introduced.

The Crew players quickly left the field at the final whistle, allowing Portland to celebrate their success, but one man remained as Kamara watched the Timbers’ celebrations for 15 minutes from a distance.

“I wanted to sit out there. I wanted to see what it feels like to lift that trophy,” he said afterwards.

“That’s why I was sitting out there. Those are the things that keep you going, working harder and harder.

“I’ve been there before – not to the final, but in games you really want to win. To me, it’s not just about getting up and walking away. It’s about seeing the other guys and how they feel, what that celebration is like. Because you want to feel that. That’s the feeling I was just soaking in.”

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Kamara enjoyed a stunning first season with the Crew as he netted a total of 26 goals in 37 appearances. Although being left disappointed with the way the season ended on Sunday, the 31-year-old attacker praised the support he’s received from Columbus fans since arriving.

“They’ve shown me love from day one, from the first tweet I did saying ‘New Crew, I’m coming to this team.

“They’ve always shown me love. The fans have been amazing all year, and I appreciate them.”

Portland Timbers beat Columbus Crew to lift first ever MLS Cup title

The Portland Timbers have won their first ever MLS Cup title after beating the Columbus Crew 2-1 in Sunday’s dramatic final.

Diego Valeri, who earned the match MVP award, got Portland off to a dream start, scoring the fastest goal in MLS Cup Final history, before Rodney Wallace made it 2-0 on seven minutes.

The Crew fought back to make it 2-1 on 18 minutes as Kei Kamara gave the home crowd some hope but Portland managed to hold out to deservedly claim the 2015 MLS Cup title.

More reaction to follow…

MLS Cup Final Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Portland Timbers

Competition: MLS Cup Final – Columbus Crew vs. Portland Timbers

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Sunday, December 6 – 16:00 ET (21:00 ET)

Match Odds: Columbus 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – Portland 12/5

Match Preview

It’s here. The 2015 MLS Cup Final between Columbus Crew and Portland Timbers will cap off the campaign in fine style on Sunday night as East meets West at the MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus.

It looks set to be one of the most unpredictable MLS Cup finals in recent memory and both sides will feel they have a genuine shot at success on Sunday evening.

Columbus come into the game as Eastern Conference champions after beating the New York Red Bulls 2-1 over two legs in the last round. They have earned the right to host the final as a result of their goal difference to Portland’s and will hope home comforts can see them lift a second title in their 21-year history.

Columbus Crew’s 2015 MLS record: P38 – W17 – D8 – L13

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Portland will be looking to spoil the party though. The Timbers travel to Columbus as Western Conference champions after a fine two-legged performance against FC Dallas, advancing 5-3 on aggregate.

They have a formidable away record in MLS this year and will hope their first ever MLS Cup Final appearance can be a successful one in what is just their fifth season in the league.

Portland Timbers’ 2015 MLS record: P39 – W17 – D11 – L11

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Caleb Porter’s side will look to score early on Sunday. They haven’t lost a game when scoring first all season and will be able to silence the crowd if they get the go-ahead strike in this one.

This will be just the seventh meeting between the two sides. They are equal in every aspect based on previous meetings as both have won two, drawn two and lost two, scoring and conceding six goals each.

WATCH: 2015 MLS Cup Final Preview Show

Team News

Columbus Crew manager Gregg Berhalter has just one injury concern as Kristinn Steindorsson will miss out again. Other than that the Crew have no concerns and are likely to remain unchanged for the final.

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter will be sweating on the fitness of two of his key men in Liam Ridgewell and Fanendo Adi. Both are doubts but should be passed fit to play. Ben Zemanski is definitely out as he continues to recover from his ACL injury.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/L/W/W/L

Portland Timbers’ last five: W/D/W/W/D

Key Stat: Portland Timbers have won more away games (8) than any other MLS side in 2015.

Key Player: Kei Kamara – The Columbus Crew striker can single-handedly decide a game if he is at his best and the home fans will be desperate to see the powerful forward carry the Black and Gold to MLS Cup success in this one.

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Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 1-2 Portland Timbers – This looks set to be one of the most unpredictable MLS Cup finals in a while between two of the league’s most entertaining sides. We should be treated to goals in Columbus on Sunday night but Portland might just stun the Crew by becoming champions.

VIDEO: MLS Cup Final 2015 Preview Show

With just four days to go until the 2015 MLS Cup Final between Columbus Crew and Portland Timbers, we take a look at both sides’ chances of success in our latest TV show.

Columbus will host Sunday’s clash and will look to lift a first MLS Cup title since 2008, while the travelling Timbers are appearing in their first ever MLS Cup final in what is just their fifth season.

Check out the video below and vote for who you think will be crowned champions on Sunday in our poll.

MLS Cup Final set as Portland prepare visit to Columbus

We’re down to the wire. After a long and entertaining season, the 2015 MLS Cup Final will crown a new champion as the Columbus Crew will host the Portland Timbers at MAPFRE Stadium next Sunday night.

The Timbers will take part in their first ever MLS Cup Final after beating FC Dallas 5-3 on aggregate to become Western Conference champions last night. They have won more away games than any side in MLS this year and will need one more to lift the title in Ohio.

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That won’t be an easy task against a Columbus side that eliminated Supporters’ Shield winners New York Red Bulls 2-1 on aggregate over two legs.

The Crew fell 1-0 in New York last night but were able to edge through, thanks to their outstanding performance in the first leg at home.

Columbus have won their last three home games in total. But their last defeat came against Portland.

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The Timbers won 2-1 at MAPFRE Stadium at the end of September in the only meeting between the two this season and that will give the away side confidence as they chase a first ever championship title.

Columbus will be taking part in their second MLS Cup Final after winning the championship against the Red Bulls in 2008.

MAPFRE Stadium will host its second ever final after the 2001 MLS Cup Final between LA Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes took place in Ohio, with the Quakes lifting the trophy that year.

PODCAST: MLS Cup picks, Steven Gerrard and Spurs discussed

The latest MLSGB Podcast in now available to listen to as host Zack Walford sits down with Jamie Ives and Louis East to discuss who we think will win the MLS Cup as well as talking about Steven Gerrard’s future.

The podcast finishes with the team talking about whether Spurs are the real deal after a fine start in the Premier League.

MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer Regular Season – FC Dallas vs. New York City FC

Venue: Toyota Stadium – Saturday, September 12 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)

Match Odds: FC Dallas 7/10 – Draw 3/1 – New York City FC 7/2

Match Preview

FC Dallas host expansion franchise New York City FC on Saturday night as they look to cut the four point difference at the top of the Western Conference.

Dallas have the potential to top the Supporters’ Shield standings if they win both their games in hand on Vancouver Whitecaps.

They look to have bounced back from a recent dip in form after back-to-back wins they mean business and will feel confident heading into this one.

FC Dallas’ record in MLS: P26 W13 D5 L8

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New York City FC are at the opposite end of the MLS standings, with just one win in their last six, reflecting a difficult month for City.

NYCFC have failed to register an away win since the fifth of july, when they defeated Montreal Impact 2-1. And as such have slipped down the Eastern Conference.

New acquisition Frank Lampard has struggled to make much of an impact for his side and NYCFC look short of the playoffs this term, despite still being in with a shot.

New York City FC’s record in MLS: P27 W7 D7 L13

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Team News

FC Dallas may be without duo Mauro Diaz and Dan Kennedy who are both suffering with minor injuries. Bakary Soumare is also a doubt with a concussion.

New York City FC are missing George John, Tony Taylor and Connor Brandt. Javier Calle, Khiry Shelton and Mehdi Ballouchy are all doubts.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ last five in MLS: L/L/L/W/W

New York City FC’s last five in MLS: L/W/D/L/L

Key Stat: FC Dallas have won five of their last six at home in MLS.

Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The Columbian winger is proving one of the most exciting talents in MLS and his pace and dribbling have drawn in many suitors from Europe, stopping him will be a priority for NYC on Saturday night.

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Score Prediction

FC Dallas 3-1 New York City FC – Dallas will be favourites for this one as they are extremely consistent at home. New York may cause problems for the MLS title contenders but we expect Dallas to ease to three points.