The post-Earnie era hasn’t started off well.
The Philadelphia Union lost to the Portland Timbers 3-0 in a road match on Saturday night.
Union starting XI: Blake; Fabinho, Trusty, Elliott, Rosenberry; Jones, Creavalle; Epps, Dockal, Herbers; Sapong
Portland starting XI: Attinella; Mabiala, Olum, Cascante; Powell, Chara, Guzman, Polo, Valentin; Valeri, Armenteros
With an eye toward Wednesday’s do-or-die U.S. Open Cup semifinal match, Jim Curtin brought out the B team for Western Conference road match. Derrick Jones and Warren Creavalle took the place of the usual holding midfielders, Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medujanin. Marcus Epps and Fabian Herbers got a chance to start on the wings. Mark McKenzie took a knock during training so Jack Elliott replaced him, and Cory Burke was ill, giving C.J. Sapong the start.
Portland head coach Giovanni Savarese ended his recent experiment with a 5-3-2 formation, and went back to the 3-5-2 that Portland has been using most of the season. And that meant that they had the dangerous duo of Samuel Armenteros and last year’s MLS MVP Diego Valeri.
The Union were the better side throughout most of the first half. They were maintaining possession and getting into the final third. The Union had an excellent chance in the 29th minute when C.J. Sapong was set up perfectly in the front of the goal, but completely whiffed on the pass. After that Portland started looking more dangerous, but the halftime came with nothing on the scoreboard.
It all started coming apart for the Union in the 56th minute when Fabinho knocked down Diego Valeri just inside the penalty area. Valeri converted the penalty kick, and now the Union were chasing the game.
Curtin started subbing in some the A team players. Fafa Picault took the place of Epps, Bedoya replaced Jones, and Medujanin came in for Borek Dockal. Fresher legs helped, but the Union still weren’t doing anything to inspire confidence that they tie the match up.
Then on 83rd minute, it was Warren Creavalle clipped Valeri just in pretty much the same spot where the first penalty was. This time Dairon Asprilla took the kick and gave the Timbers a big 2-0 lead.
Portland finished off the boys in blue three minutes when David Guzman headed in a free kick that caught Andre Blake sleeping, giving the final 3-0 score.
No losses are good, but with playing a Western Conference team on the road, this did the least damage. Hopefully the Union can recharge for the big U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday vs. the Chicago Fire.
- Sapong was awful tonight. So was Fabinho.
- Jones had a good match and probably deserved to stay in the game. His shot on goal in 52nd minute was the best chance the Union had all night.
- The Union look tired as the match wore on. Were they feeling jet lag? Or were my eyes just blurry from this late night match?