In their fourth of five home matches this month, the Philadelphia Union (7-3-3, 24 Pts, 1st Place Eastern Conference), hosted the Portland Timbers (3-6-2, 17 Pts, 10th Place Western Conference).
In the end the second very good crowd in a row, 18,474, were frustrated by the Union’s inability to find the back of the net, even with controlling most of the match in a 3-1 loss.
Portland Timbers Starting XI: 4,4,2
GK Steve Clark; Ds Bill Tuiloma, Zarek Valentin Jorge Villafana, Larrys Mabiala; MFs Andy Polo, Andres Flores, Diego Chara, Brian Fernandez, Diego Valeri (C); F Jeremy Ebobisse
Union Starting XI: 4,1,2,1,2
GK Andre Blake; Ds Auston Trusty, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Raymon Gaddis; MFs Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya (C), Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson; Fs Fafa Picault, Kacper Przybylko
I could almost autotype the start of this match because, except for Blake having to make a save in the 3′, as usual the U took it to the Timbers early. They were buzzing around the Timbers net, but after five shots taken, not one was on target. Meanwhile Blake had to make three saves, but only one dangerous in the first 20′
Unlike most games lately the Union were not able to over come the poor shooting, and an Anti Doop happened on a counter as Portland scored first on a nice run and finish by Fernandez, his 2nd G in his first MLS start . Blake never had a chance. 31′
Just a short time later the defense fell asleep again allowing multiple easy passes ending in a Brace for Fernandez. 37′
The first half was a totally different defensive effort than last week, when Blake had little to do.
The Union did out shoot Portland 10-6, but only one of the ten was on goal, to the Timbers five. The U wasted the 60 – 40 TOP advantage.
My feelings about the Union in the first 45′
It certainly looked like the Union would finally grab the momentum early in the second 45′ as a trickle Over by Przybylko, got them right back in this one 48′
The U would continue to throw everything they had at the Timbers, but chance after chance was either fanned on, shot wide or in one case the best save of the night by Clark off a strong shot by Bedoya, kept the Timbers in front 71′
Portland would ice the match on yet another counter goal as the D once again let Portland have their way with the ball and Valerie (3) scored on a bender just outside the box,to make it 3-1. 87′
The Union would never recover from that.
Portland Timbers Cards:
Chara 90′ +3′
Portland Timbers Subs:
Sebastian Blanco for Ebobisse 60′
Julio Cascante for Polo 67′
Eryk Williamson for Valerie 88′
Ilsinho for Aaronson HT
Sergio Santos for Fafa 67′
Michee Ngalina for Gaddis 82′ His MLS Debut
The last two matches were very frustrating to watch after taking over first place with a Nil-Nil draw against Seattle Sounders FC, they have a dud like this against a bottom tier team. Even with a blow-out the next match, it will still feel like lost opportunities that could hurt in seeding at the least come the end of the season.
They really need to find a way to score more than one goal against inferior opponents, especially with a 18-9 Shots and 62.8 – 37.2 TOP advantages.
I am sure we will hear post-game about how good an effort they put up, but that means little if you do not get the desired result.
The Union fall back into second place, but have a game in hand over DC United. So they could go back in front with a result in the match noted below.
It is one of those dreaded short weeks, as the U at least stay at home to face yet another lower tier Western Conference team Colorado Rapids (1-9-2, 5 Pts, Last Place Western Conference) on Wednesday 05/29 at 7:30 PM PHL17. The Rapids play Columbus Crew (5-8-1, 19 Pts, 8th Place Eastern Conference) at home tonight.