Union rallies past NYCFC to meet LAFC in 2022 MLS Cup Final

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Philadelphia sports just keep getting better.

The No.1 seed Philadelphia Union rallied past No. 3 seed and defending MLS champion NYCFC 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Final on Sunday to advance to the 2022 MLS Cup Final. 

It didn’t appear that way at first, however. NYCFC opened the scoring on the road at Subaru Park after some scintillating build-up play led to Maximiliano Moralez finding the back of the net from outside the box. 

Union goalkeeper Andre Blake led all goalkeepers in clean sheets (15) during the regular season, but there was nothing he could do about Moralez’s low and powerful strike that curled as it glided over the pitch.

But Philadelphia fed off the crowd’s energy and created all of the best chances in the game from that point forward.

It started with Julián Carranza in the 65th minute after Philadelphia pounced on a free kick set piece that New York reacted too slowly to. Carranza slid it past USMNT international Sean Johnson to knot it up at 1-1. 

Two minutes later, Philadelphia took the lead through its top goal scorer, Dániel Gazdag. Carranza was influential in the build-up yet again, this time heading it down for Gazdag to slot it up and over Johnson, who narrowly trailed Blake in regular-season clean sheets with 14. 

Then nine minutes later, Philadelphia pressed New York high up the pitch and forced the defenders to lose possession in a dangerous area. 

Cory Burke, who made the initial tackle to regain possession, turned upfield and lost the ball in the penalty box, but it made a fortunate bounce right back to him as he laced up for a vigorous left-footed strike that was too high for Johnson to parry.

NYCFC dominated possession (66%-34%), completed passes (580-304), pass accuracy (85%-68%) and total shots (13-10), but Philadelphia proved more clinical with its shots on target (6-4) to go through to the final.

Now Philadelphia will head to Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles to take on No. 1 LAFC, who beat No. 2 Austin FC 3-0 in the Western Conference Final earlier on Sunday. 

Both organizations have a chance to make history as neither has lifted the MLS Cup in their respective histories. LAFC, however, won the Supporters’ Shield this year after finishing the campaign with the best overall regular-season record.

Kick-off time for the final is slated for 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 5.

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