In a tough road match on Saturday, the Philadelphia Union fell 2-1 against the reigning MLS Champions, the Portland Timbers at Providence Park.
Throughout the opening 45 minutes, the Union did force some chances on goal through the likes of Fabian Herbers and Tranquillo Barnetta. Timbers keeper Jake Gleeson stood his line and made both saves. C.J. Sapong also hit the post in the 33rd minute. Union keeper Andre Blake was forced into one save in the first half off the foot of Fernando Adi.
The beginning of the second half saw two quick goals back to back as the scoreline stood at 1-1. Portland’s Diego Valeri scored from close range from Darren Mattocks‘ assist before a Chris Pontius effort from long-range drew the visitors level.
Six minutes after the Union drew level, Portland took the lead once again as Adi hammered the hosts in front from inside the box. Mattocks claimed his second assist of the match which seemed to be the winning one. Pontius forced two more saves out of Gleeson before forward C.J. Sapong also hit a shot on target as well.
Adi, Mattock, and Diego Chara all forced second-half saves from Blake, as the Jamaican kept the Union in the match. Things got worse for the Union as centerback Josh Yaro was sent off after picking up a second yellow card. The ten-men Union tried to equalize through the likes of Barnetta and Keegan Rosenberry in stoppage time but ultimately couldn’t beat Gleeson in-goal.
At the final whistle, the Union fell 2-1 on the road in a hard-fought MLS match. Possession was split 50%-50%, while Gleeson was the busier of the two goalkeepers making seven saves. Andre Blake made four which kept the Union in the match.
With Montreal and Orlando City also losing on Saturday, the Philadelphia Union remain in fourth place in the East sitting on 41 points. They are three points ahead of the Impact and five ahead of the sixth-placed New England Revolution.
It was always going to be a tough challenge to beat the Timbers at Providence Park. The Timbers 11-3-2 home record is the best in the MLS.
Curtin’s side will need to work hard this week and prepare for another tough match away from home. The Union will travel to first-place Toronto F.C. next Saturday, before facing the New York Red Bulls the following week.
If the Union can get some things going starting next weekend, it could make the final weeks of the season a lot less stressful for the fans and players alike.