Every time Portland came to visit the Union before Saturday the game ended in a 0-0 draw. It looked like much of the same as the teams went into halftime locked in a very familiar scoreless draw. That isn't to say there weren't chances in the first half as the Union dominated, but couldn't find the back of the net. The second half was a different story as the Union poured in three goals to beat Portland for the first time.
What could be better than a three goal win? How about keeping a shutout too! The back line that was seemingly thrown together with duct tape was able to shutout a Portland Timbers attack that features Fanendo Adi, currently sitting at sixth in the league's leading goalscorers, and 2014 All-Star Diego Valeri. Only for a brief period at the end of the first half did the Timbers show any ability to pressure the defense.
On the offensive end, even before the goals started pouring in, there were signs that the attack was really firing on all cylinders. The posts were the only thing keeping the Union off the scoreboard before the break. Even though he didn't score CJ Sapong was giving Nat Borchers all that he could handle. Cristian Maidana was all over the field, creating opportunities and eventually racking up three assists on the day. Vincent Nogueira ventured forward more often, as Jim Curtin has mentioned more than once in press conferences, and was able to finish two great chances.
Probably the most important part of the game though, was the end of the goal drought that has plagued what was supposed to be Andrew Wenger's break out season. There is still plenty of season left for him to make up for lost time and hopefully go on a tear that leads the Union to many more victories. Here's to hoping!
Outside of Chester the games went the right way to help the Union back into the playoff picture. The teams just ahead of the Union - the New England Revolution, Toronto FC, Orlando City, and Columbus Crew SC - all lost or tied. The Union are now within three points of third place in the East, with only Toronto having more than a game in hand over the Union. In fact, sixth place New England has played one more game than the Union. Things are looking up!
I've got nothing bad to say this week. The Union took full advantage of the opportunity presented to them with a few Timbers players missing and other results went their way.
And no, I refuse to count a loss in a friendly against an EPL team as a negative when none of our players got hurt.