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Philadelphia Union return to win column with convincing 2-0 victory in Portland

Gazdag and Santos scored and Blake made two saves late to secure the clean sheet for the Union’s first win since April 9

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Philadelphia Union made a triumphal return to the win column with a convincing 2-0 win against the Portland Timbers late Sunday night into early Monday morning on the East Coast.

Daniel Gazdag scored early in the first half on an overhead kick and Sergio Santos early in the second half on a header to lead the charge in front of 22,288 at Providence Park. The Timbers thought they had pulled a goal back through Sebastian Blanco in the 70th minute but after a lengthy video review an offside was called and the goal was taken off the board.

Andre Blake wasn’t tested until the 86th when he had to make a stop on a rocketed shot from Jimi Chara but he was called on again in the first minute of stoppage time to deny Bill Tuiloma and secure his second straight clean sheet and sixth of the season.

Gazdag scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season in the fifth minute when he hit a brilliant overhead kick off a flick from Alejandro Bedoya. Nathan Harriel started the play with a long throw-in that Bedoya did well to win and get to Gazdag.

Santos’s first goal since last October came in the 48th minute off whipped in cross from Kai Wagner. The assist is Wagner’s team-leading sixth of the season and came after Harriel crossed a ball across the face of goal that Jack Elliott tracked down and passed back to Wagner.

The win is the Union’s first since the 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew on April 9 but perhaps more importantly it’s their first game with more than one goal since the 2-2 draw with LAFC on May 7. It also gives them seven points for the month of May — one that featured two cross country trips and an Open Cup match in Orlando — with New England Revolution away next weekend before a three-week international break.

The Union has also equaled their total road win total in 2021 with their third win away from home.

While Portland hasn’t shown itself to be the team that hosted the MLS Cup final last year, it’s still a big win for a Philadelphia Union team that needed more than a draw after dropping points in six straight games to return to top of the table in the Eastern Conference and just two points back of LAFC for the Supporters’ Shield lead.