Timbers extend unbeaten streak with 3-0 win over Union
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Diego Valeri and Dairon Asprilla each scored on a penalty kick, and the Portland Timbers extended their unbeaten streak to 15 games with a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.
Portland improved to 10-0-5 since its last loss on April 8 at Orlando. The undefeated run matches the club’s MLS record of 15 games set in 2013.
“We are doing well,” said Valeri, the league’s reigning MVP who leads Portland with eight goals this season. “I am very happy about the run we’re having.”
Philadelphia rested many of its starters — including captain Alejandro Bedoya — in anticipation of Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal.
David Guzman also scored for the Timbers on a header in the 87th minute.
Valeri’s penalty came after Philadelphia’s Fabinho pulled down Alvas Powell in the 58th minute. Warren Creavalle tripped Valeri in the box for Asprilla’s PK in the 84th.
“It’s a part of the game, you get punished sometimes and you have to move on,” goalkeeper Andre Blake said.
The Timbers (10-3-7) improved to second in the Western Conference behind FC Dallas. The Union (8-11-3) sit in seventh in the East.
“I thought after we found the first goal, then the guys were able to dominate possession,” Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said. “I thought we were very good defensively in the second half and we didn’t allow them to get into good spaces.”
It was Portland’s first match without Fanendo Adi, who signed with FC Cincinnati this week. Adi, who had been with the Timbers since 2014, scored a late goal that gave Portland a 2-1 victory over Houston last weekend.
FC Cincinnati, currently with the lower-tier USL, will join Major League Soccer as an expansion team next season.
The Timbers were without Sebastian Blanco because of yellow card accumulation. Samuel Armenteros, who was listed as questionable with a sore back, started for Portland.
Bedoya was listed as a sub for the match but entered in the 66th minute after Valeri’s goal.
Philadelphia hosts the Chicago Fire in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. Other regular starters who were subs for the game included Hari Mendunjanin, Raymon Gaddis and David Accam. Coach Jim Curtin started forward C.J. Sapong and defender Keegan Rosenberry.
“We rested some key guys for a big match on Wednesday at home and I still think the performance of the guys that stepped on the field, a lot of them really did well and turned some heads, and showed they belonged in the 18 and some of them in the starting lineup discussion,” Curtin said. “So we’ll take a lot of positives from that.”
The match was scoreless after the first half. Portland’s best chance appeared to be a shot by Andy Polo that sailed just over the goal in the 34th minute. Just before that, Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella lunged to grab Sapong’s left-footed shot toward the far post.
Sapong had another opportunity in the opening minute of the second half but Attinella came away with another save.
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