MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, July 20, 2013
(All times Eastern)
Portland (8-2-9) at Philadelphia (8-6-6), 7:30 p.m.
Chester, PA (Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Union will look continue their
fine run of form at home on Saturday as the club welcomes the Portland Timbers
to PPL Park.
After struggling through a difficult two-game road trip to Salt Lake City and
Houston which resulted in a draw and a loss, the Union returned home to face
Chivas USA last Friday and came up with an inspired second-half performance to
claim a 3-1 victory, extending their home unbeaten streak to six consecutive
matches across all competitions.
Philadelphia fell behind last Friday 14 minutes into the match when defender
Amobi Okugo slipped on the wet turf, which allowed Chivas' Jorge Villafana to
collect the ball and send it to an unmarked Jose Correa, who fired it into
the empty net.
But in the second half the Union grabbed control and found an equalizer in the
58th minute as a Sebastien Le Toux cross was flicked on by Conor Casey before
deflecting off the back of Brian Carroll and into the net.
Philadelphia grabbed the lead for good in the 82nd minute in a most
unconventional way as Michel Farfan smashed an indirect free kick from inside
the penalty area into the roof of the net.
The Union then added a third goal from Casey in the 89th minute to seal an
important three points.
"This means a lot the way we were able to battle back and get the three points,
it says a lot about our team," said rookie midfielder Leo Fernandes. "This
gives us a lot of confidence and now it's important we take this into the next
game and fight for another three points."
Philadelphia will also welcome back a familiar face as striker Jack McInerney
will be eligible to play after being returned to the club following the his
stint with the U.S. national team at the Gold Cup.
Portland, meanwhile, is coming off a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Western
Conference rival Los Angeles Galaxy last Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field, a result
which lifted the Timbers to second place in the West.
The Galaxy broke through first, in the 17th minute. Hector Jimenez perfectly
placed a cross from the right wing and Marcelo Sarvas was left alone in the box
to head home with ease.
Portland answered back 10 minutes later. From a free kick just outside the
Galaxy box, Diego Valeri took the restart quickly and fed a charging Darlington
Nagbe, who rolled a cross to Ryan Johnson for an open-net goal.
The game-winner came just before the final whistle when Andrew Jean-Baptiste
powered his way into the box to get on the end of a Valeri corner kick.
"With us, we're pushing the game so if we give up a goal, nothing changes,
we're pushing the game,"Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. "To win the game,
you've got to score goals so the first goal doesn't change a thing for us
whatsoever, and you saw that in our play. We kept going, we kept pushing."
In four all-time meetings between the clubs, Portland holds a 2-0-2 record,
including a 3-1 victory at home last season.
07/19 17:08:59 ET