Orlando, Fla. – The MLS is Back Tournament returned tonight with semifinals action. The Portland Timbers were up against a feisty Philadelphia Union squad, with a spot in the final on the line. Portland Timbers corners ended up being a key factor.
Portland Timbers Corners Down Union in MiB Semifinals
A familiar forward got on the score sheet first for Portland. Jeremy Ebobisse netted his fourth goal of the tournament, getting his head on the end of a great corner kick for the lead in the 13th minute. Portland would continue their pressure, with Ebobisse getting several more looks at goal in the first half.
However, old habits die hard, and the Timbers extended a lifeline before halftime. A soft shove to the back from Sebastián Blanco was all it took for a penalty call. The Union’s Sergio Santos took the penalty but sent it high, unable to take advantage before halftime.
The second half went the same as the first. While Portland continued to dominate, Philadelphia did have a couple of chances to bring the match level. However, the Timbers were able to get some breathing room, doubling their lead with a Sebastián Blanco header in the 70th minute.
Philadelphia had seemingly sparked a comeback in the 85th minute, after Andrew Wooten found himself in the right place after a Clark save. Shortly after cutting the lead in half, the Union netted a second, but were ultimately ruled offside. The Portland Timbers weathered the late match surge, securing their spot in the Finals with a 2-1 win.
While Philadelphia did have a push to tie things up in tbe final ten minutes, Portland dominated. They were better in possession, did well to defend the middle of the pitch, and took advantage of set pieces.
Doop, There It Is
Philadelphia looked lethargic to say the least. The first 80 minutes of the match went as bad as it could go. Letting in two goals, getting beaten on the counter-attack, not taking advantage of chances, and a poorly taken penalty. The final 15 minutes of the match saw a much better Union side push for the comeback, but it wouldn’t be enough in the end.
For Portland, they now await the winner of tomorrow’s Minnesota United/Orlando City match. While letting their foot of the gas nearly cost them tonight, expect them to be focused on adding another trophy to the cabinet. After flexing their dominance, they have proven to be the favorites regardless of who they face.