Sebastian Blanco ‘ready’ for Portland Timbers MLS Cup vs NYCFC after ‘miracle’ recovery

PORTLAND, Ore. – After as a substitute not used in Portland Wood‘Western Conference Final Victory Real salt lake five days ago, after a hamstring injury was reported in the conference semifinals won first Colorado Rapids on Thanksgiving Day threatened to keep him out of the rest of the MLS Cup knockouts, Sebastian Blanco says he’s “ready” for Saturday’s MLS Cup final against New York City FC (3 p.m. ET, live on ABC).

Dating back to August 29, Blanco has appeared in 15 of Portland’s 17 competitions. Of those 15 games, the Timbers have won 12 of them, with the 33-year-old forward scoring eight goals and five assists in that span.

His importance to Giovanni Savarese’s side cannot be underestimated, so it will be a huge relief for Rose City that their No 10 has taken part in full training on Thursday.

“I’m ready. I’m fine, I feel good,” Blanco told members of the media during Thursday’s press conference. “I’ve been mentally prepared for this game. I’ve fully trained with my team today. Now we still need to chat with the team. [Savarese] … He will decide, but everything is fine. “

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In the two months before his injury in Colorado, Blanco’s form kept Portland hoping for a deep playoff spot. And those expectations were heightened as the knockouts began, as he marked a dominant performance in a Round 1 win over Minnesota United with a curly brace.

But the Timbers had to struggle to win against Rapids, needing a winner in the 90th minute from central defender Larrys Mabiala to advance out of the conference semi-finals. An early goal from Felipe Mora ensured they were never too upset last Saturday against RSL, allowing Blanco to stay on the bench to continue his recovery towards a rebound he considers to be near-miracle.

“After Colorado, I was almost out, so let’s talk about the near miracle that can come to this game,” he said. “So being a part of this game is important for me. No matter what happens on Saturday, if I can play or not, it’s important to be a part and we need to. support my team. However, I need to support.”

Even though it’s limited to twice Argentina The importance of internationals in Portland’s run to the MLS Cup, NYCFC coach Ronny Deila insists his team is focused on stopping all 11 of their opponents on the field on Saturday, not just Blanco .

“We talked a lot… here in the MLS about specific players, and Blanco… really good, of course, but they have top players plus a pair on the bench. as well as people who can cause any problems for the team,” Deila said. “So it’s not about one guy, it’s about stopping them as a team.” Sebastian Blanco ‘ready’ for Portland Timbers MLS Cup vs NYCFC after ‘miracle’ recovery

Jake Nichol

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