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Goals from Fernández, Valeri sink Union

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A few defensive errors and the posts ensured a poor night for the Union on Saturday.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Philadelphia Union Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers closed their 12-game road-trip with a win on Saturday night, calmly dispatching the Philadelphia Union, 3-1. Recent acquisition Brian Fernández grabbed a first-half brace, and Diego Valeri scored the insurance goal in the second half. Kacper Pryzbyłko scored the Union’s lone goal, his fourth of the season.

Fernandez scored his first in the 31st minute, when he found space behind Jack Elliott and nodded home a cross from Andy Polo. Five minutes later, a slip from Alejandro Bedoya gave Portland the ball and a breakaway opportunity. Diegos Chara and Valeri linked up with Fernandez, who converted another easy finish for his third goal in two MLS games.

The Union pulled one back immediately after halftime. Fafa Picault’s cutback was redirected off the post and in by Pryzbyłko, who hit the woodwork three times in all on Saturday night.

Ilsinho, who came on for Brenden Aaronson at halftime, led the comeback effort, but his magic was ineffectual on the night. Substitutes Sergio Santos and Michee Ngalina were also unable to make a difference going forward.

Diego Valeri put the game to bed in the 87th, curling one into the bottom corner after a combination atop the box.

Three Thoughts

  • This is the second week in a row that the Union have struggled with a team parking the bus in Chester. Portland’s low block forced the Union to circulate the ball around the Timbers’ 18, failing to penetrate with any real consistency. Of their 18 shots, the home side only put five on goal. They’ve now only scored once in their last 180 minutes at home. The return and full integration of Marco Fabián can’t come soon enough.
  • Bedoya slipped and slid on the giveaway leading to Portland’s second goal. This is hardly a new trend, as we’ve seen players losing their footing on a noticeably soft field for weeks now. The Union will wrap up a three-game homestand against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday. In the mean time, Bethlehem Steel will host Louisville City SC tomorrow, their eighth home game of the season. As much as we talk about player rotation, maybe some field rotation could do some good.
  • Kai Wagner had a great night, and it’s a shame that one of his crosses was not put into the back of the net. He did get the hockey assist on Pryzbyłko’s goal, but his overall activity on the left flank was deserving of a more proper assist.