Portland Timbers enjoyed a 2-1 defeat over Philadelphia Union on Wednesday, thereby securing their spot in the final of the MLS is Back tournament.
While Philadelphia may have retained 62% of the ball possession, the game was evenly-matched throughout, with both teams performing well at the back. In fact, it took two set pieces for Portland to find the back of the net.
Portland’s first goal came in the 13th minute, when Jeremy Ebobisse’s headered home a well-placed corner kick, getting the better of Philadelphia keeper Blake with a well-timed bounce.
After a few non-threatening shots from both sides, Philadelphia were awarded a penalty during the first half stoppage time. Unfortunately for them, striker Sergio Santos rocketed the ball well over the bar – an error that proved to be fatal.
Throughout the second half, Portland managed to launch several effective counter-attacks, with Niezgoda, Valeri, and Polo all taking shots on goal. Ultimately, Portland would extend their lead in the 70th minute through another corner kick, with Sebastian Blanco scoring this time around.
While Portland may have seemed to be in the clear, the final ten minutes of the game proved nail-biting as Philadelphia pulled a goal back in the 85th minute. Mere moments later, it seemed as if Philadelphia had pulled off an unlikely comeback by scoring yet again. Unfortunately for them, the goal was ruled offside, meaning that Portland had successfully held on for the victory.
The second semi final takes place tonight, with Orlando City and Minnesota United battling it out for the other spot in the final.