After a scoreless first half, NYCFC opened the scoring through star midfielder Maxi Moralez in the 57th minute and looked poised to double their advantage minutes later when MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake made a stunning save to deny Alexander Callens a header from close range in the 60th minute.
Blake’s heroics seemed to shift the momentum as the Union stormed back to tie the game in the 65th minute when Jakob Glesnes played Julián Carranza into the ball and he beat Sean Johnson to tie it up.
The Union wasted little time adding a second with a record crowd at Subaru Park rocking. This time it was second half substitute Jack McGlynn floating a ball in from the right flank and Carranza heading the ball to MVP finalist Daniel Gazdag for the finish.
Substitute Cory Burke made sure an NYCFC comeback would not be in the cards as he practically willed a third goal in when he made a strong run into the box and got a second crack at a goal after a turnover to make it 3-1 in the 76th minute.
Flipping the script from a year ago when a Covid-depleted Union team took the lead but conceded twice to fall 2-1, the Union were the ones lifting the trophy on their home field to the delight of 19,770 fans.
Captain Alejandro Bedoya, who returned to the starting lineup after missing the semifinal but had to leave at halftime after showing discomfort on the field, was limping when he brought the trophy up to the stage.
It’s the first trophy the Union have won in a must-win game (they lost last year’s conference final and have lost three U.S. Open Cup finals) and second overall. They won the Supporters’ Shield in 2020 after a win over New England in the final game of the season but a Toronto FC loss meant they would’ve clinched the trophy no matter the result.
It will be a quick turnaround for Saturday’s final.
The Union will travel to Los Angeles to face LAFC in a battle of the top two teams in the regular season. the Union and LAFC were even on points but LAFC won the Supporters’ Shield with the league’s tiebreaker for wins.
The game is slated for 4 p.m. eastern time and will be broadcast live on FOX.