Playing in the friendly confines of Providence Park, the Portland Timbers were able to hammer out a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union. A couple of Darren Mattocks assists set up Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi goals to endure the victory.
Darren Mattocks Assists the Timbers to Victory over Union
The only major change to the Timbers starting lineup was the injection of Darren Mattocks along the left wing. Other than that, they fielded the 4-2-3-1 formation that has become their norm:
Powell – Taylor- Ridgewell – Vytas
Chara – Jewsbury
Nagbe – Valeri – Mattocks
The Union, as they have for much of the season, were going to rely on their youth at the back while hoping their more experienced attackers would be able to create chances up front. They also employed the ever popular 4-2-3-1:
Rosenberry – Yaro – Marquez – Fabinho
Bedoya – Carroll
Herbers – Barnetta – Pontius
After a first half that was marred by injury delays and half chances, the second half got started with a bang. Diego Valeri got the Timbers ahead thanks to a wonderful play by Mattocks along the touchline in the 46th minute. Chris Pontius provided the Union’s hasty response less than a minute later. Mattocks provided another assist on Fanendo Adi’s go ahead goal in the 53rd. That would be enough to see off a 2-1 victory. The Union didn’t truly threaten after going down and were out of it for good when Josh Yaro was sent off for a second yellow card in the 85th minute.
A lot of things went right for Portland, but four guys in particular created this win.
Darren Mattocks Was an Animal
Darren Mattocks hasn’t seen much playing time since joining the Timbers. In fact, this was only his third MLS appearance since July. Today, he easily had his best game in the Rose City. He created both goals almost single handedly. He defended from the front as if he was actually in front of his own goal. His passing left a lot to be desired overall, but that can easily go by the wayside. He did all the little things right for the Timbers. The biggest thing that went wrong for him was missing a stellar chance to add an insurance goal of his own in second half stoppage time.
The Usual Suspects Were at it Again
When you think Portland Timbers, you instantly think Fanendo Adi and Diego Valeri. Both of Portland’s primary talismans scored today (thanks to feeds from Mattocks, of course) and both had strong games. They combined for 13 of Portland’s 17 shots in addition to those all important goals. They were also key passers, both completing around three quarters of their feeds. It’s clear that Portland is at it’s best when those two are at their best as well.
Jake Gleeson Stayed Strong
Jake Gleeson is the well deserved starting keeper for the Timbers and today was more proof. He took some lumps early, quite literally. On one of the Union’s early counters, he took a boot to the face and remained on the carpet for quite some time. He recovered quite well, though. He made five saves and only allowed the one goal while continuing to face a fair amount of physical punishment.
This win is a big one for Portland. It moves them in front of Sporting Kansas City for the time being. They are two points ahead of them with LA Galaxy visiting Children’s Mercy Park tomorrow afternoon. It also creates a little more buffer between them and the Seattle Sounders, who are six points back with two matches in hand. They just need to figure things on away from Providence Park. Their next shot to do that is next Saturday when they travel to Houston to take on the Dynamo.
The Union, on the other hand, keep spiraling downward. They are comfortably in the playoffs, for now, but are three matches without a win and won’t have their strong rookie defender, Josh Yaro, when they head to Toronto to face the high flying Toronto FC attack next weekend.