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Philadelphia Union’s bubble burst in loss to Portland Timbers

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A late surge comes up short for the Union in a 2-1 loss in the MLS is Back semifinal

MLS: Portland Timbers at Philadelphia Union Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

An offsides call on what would have been Kacper Przybylko’s late equalizer stopped the Philadelphia Union’s valiant late comeback attempt as the Portland Timbers advanced to the MLS is Back Tournament final behind two set piece goals.

The match started off strong for the Philadelphia Union as they were able to drive possession early but it was the Timbers pressure of their own that led to a goal off a corner kick in the 13th minute by Jeremy Ebobisse assisted by Diego Valeri.

Down a goal, the Union continued to grind and were rewarded with a penalty in first half stoppage time when Jamiro Monteiro was taken down in the box. Rather than heading to the break with the score tied 1-1, Sergio Santos skied his penalty kick attempt, which was his first for the team.

The Union opened up the second half by pressuring the Timbers and keeping possession in their end forcing the Timbers to defend as they did throughout much of the night with nine men behind the ball (the Union had 61.5% possession for the game). The Timbers continued to look threatening on the counter but Blake was up to the challenge as he has been all tournament recording another five saves on the evening.

Portland’s second goal came off another corner kick in the 70th minute when an unmarked Sebastian Blanco got to a second ball headed down toward the goal that he was able to head past Blake’s near post.

After narrowly escaping what looked like it might be a third Portland goal thanks to a heads up tackle from Jack Elliott, the Union offense started to create some chances and nearly found a goal in the 81st minute through Kacper Przybylko but it was another tough night for the Union striker. They did finally get on board when Andrew Wooten knocked in a rebound off a well-taken free kick form Monteiro. The goal was the first for Wooten since joining the team last summer.

Przybylko thought he had tied the game up in the 86th minute after a masterful turn in the box from Brenden Aaronson set up the chance and while it looked close in the replays and possibly on, the play stood and Portland was able to kill off the final moments of stoppage time to advance to the final, where they’ll face the winner of tomorrow night’s Orlando City and Minnesota United game.