Chester, Pa. (AP) – Julian Carranza and Daniel Gazdug scored two minutes into the second half and the Philadelphia Union advanced to their first MLS Cup final with a 3-1 victory over New York City FC on Sunday night.
The Union will travel to Los Angeles and face defending Shield winners LAFC in the league title game on Saturday.
Top-seeded LAFC advanced to the first leg of the MLS Cup championship earlier Sunday with a 3-0 victory over Austin FC in the Western Conference final. This is the first time since Toronto in 2017 that a Sportster’s Shield winner has reached the championship game.
Corey Burke also scored in the conference final for the Union, who were unbeaten in 19 home games this season.
Guzdag appeared to score for Union in the 16th minute, but was out. It was scoreless in the first half before Maxi Moralez’s sublime strike past goalkeeper Andre Black in the 57th minute gave NYCFC a 1-0 lead.
The Union tied it in the 65th with Carranza’s first career playoff goal. Moments later, Carranza headed in Gazdag, who scored to give Philadelphia the lead. Burke added a goal in the 76th.
Union saw the return of Alejandro Bedoya, who missed the team’s conference semifinal against FC Cincinnati with a groin injury.
NYCFC was hurt by the absence of defender Maxime Chant due to a lower body injury. Telus Magno was also removed from power.
It was the second consecutive year the teams reached the Eastern Conference Finals. Last season, Union was without 11 players due to COVID-19 protocols and NYCFC won 2-1.
New York City defeated the Portland Timbers in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw for the MLS Cup championship.
Union swept NYCFC in two meetings for the first time this season, including a 2-0 win at Yankee Stadium in March for the team’s first win. Philadelphia also won 2-1 at home in June.