It's Columbus and Portland for MLS Cup 2015

Published Monday, November 30, 2015 6:31 PM by Shane Barrow

If the MLS Cup is anything close to what we got in the MLS Conference Finals then soccer fans are in for a real treat.  Both final second legs came down to the final minutes and held drama almost too hard to explain.  In the end both the Columbus Crew and the Portland Timbers squeeked by.

In Frisco, Texas the Portland Timbers survived a fight back in miserable conditions.  Carrying a solid two goal lead into the match, Portland scored what looked like the dagger early in the second half giving them a 4-1 aggregate advantage. Game over right? Not so fast.  FC Dallas sprung to life after coach Oscar Pareja brought on fresh attacking legs.

Suddenly the home team were all over the Timbers and the goals started coming.  Dallas answered in the 68th minute, when Mauro Diaz found Ryan Hollingshead with a beautiful chip and the midfielder volleyed home past frozen Adam Kwarasey. Minutes later, Blas Perez's header from a set piece gave Dallas a 2-1 lead in the game and cut its aggregate deficit to 4-3.

FC Dallas still needed one more and it looked like the perfect chance fell to Blas Perez in stoppage time.  A loose ball fell perfectly for Perez from eight yards out right in front of the Portland goal.  Blas wound up and fired only to see Nat Borchers throw himself in front of the shot and save the day.  Only a minute later Portland slammed the door when substitute Lucas Melano scored a nice individual goal in transition sending the Timbers to their 1st ever MLS Cup.

After the wonderful game in Frisco, MLS fans were treated to an equally entertaining match in New York as the Columbus Crew barely held on to knock out the Red Bulls.  Columbus entered the day holding a 2-0 advantage and they looked pretty safe as they made it to halftime scoreless in the second leg.  RBNY head coach Jesse Marsch turned to his bench and the home side began to pile on the pressure.  Columbus stayed as composed as possible but the dam finally broke in stoppage time as Anatole Abang headed in to cut the deficit to one.

New York continued to pour forward as the Crew sat deep and prayed for the final whistle.  The Red Bulls looked to have the tying goal as a Bradley Wright-Philips header headed for the far corner of the net.  The post denied the ball and the Columbus Crew had earned the right to host the 20th MLS Cup next weekend.