Timbers Register 3-1 Win on the Road against Philadelphia Union
CHESTER, Pa. - Receiving a first-half brace from Brian Fernandez, the Portland Timbers concluded their MLS-record stretch of 12 consecutive road games with a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union in front of 18,474 fans at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday night. Fernandez increased his season total to three goals in his first two games, while Diego Valeri recorded his third goal of the season and added his team-leading seventh assist.
Portland (4-6-2, 14pts) posted a record of 4-1-1 in its last six games to wrap up its extended road trip. During that span, the Timbers scored multiple goals in four matches, outscoring their opponents 11-6 during the six-game stretch. It marks the third time in the MLS era that the club has won four or more matches over the span of six away games. Portland's four away wins is tied for the third-most road wins the club has had in a single MLS season, behind the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Additionally, after conceding 17 goals in their first six matches, Portland has allowed just six goals in their last six matches.
The Timbers improved to 6-1-3 all-time against Philadelphia with the win, including a mark of 2-1-2 at Talen Energy Stadium. Portland has won four consecutive matches against Philadelphia, outscoring the Union 11-3 during that span. Notably, the Timbers posted a record of 3-1-0 against Eastern Conference teams during their 12 consecutive road matches to open the 2019 campaign. Portland's win at Talen Energy Stadium snapped the Union's six-game unbeaten streak. Additionally, the Timbers are just the second team to win on the road against Philadelphia this season, handing the Union their first loss at home since March 2, 2019.
Blanco + Valeri
Sebastián Blanco and Valeri have combined for five goals and 13 assists in the club's first 12 games this season. Valeri recorded his seventh assist of the season in the win against Philadelphia, which is tied for third-most in MLS in 2019. Blanco recorded his sixth assist of the season, which is tied for fourth-most in MLS this season, setting up Valeri's second-half goal, and has now recorded six assists in his last seven matches.
Fernandez made his first start of the season, scoring his first career brace for the Timbers in a five-minute span in the first half. Fernandez has tallied three goals in his first two matches for Portland in 2019. He is the first Timbers player to score a brace in his first MLS start for the club. Additionally, Fernandez is the second Portland player to score in each of his first two MLS matches with the club.
Eryk Williamson made his MLS debut, coming on as a second-half substitute. It is the second time Williamson has played a competitive match for the club, having also played for Portland in a U.S. Open Cup match against the San Jose Earthquakes on June 6, 2018.
In the third minute, Jorge Villafaña's cross from the left flank found Jeremy Ebobisse running towards goal, but his leaping header forced Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake into a diving save. On Valeri's ensuing corner kick, Larrys Mabiala's towering header was caught by Blake.
In the 16th minute, Fernandez switched the point of attack to the right wing to Valeri, who cut in on his right foot, before firing a low shot that was parried away by Blake.
The Timbers took a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute when Andy Polo received a pass down the right side of the penalty area. Looking up, Polo floated in a cross at the back post to Fernandez, who powered his header from the left side of the six-yard box into the back of the net.
Portland doubled its lead to 2-0 in the 36th minute off a precise counter-attacking play that started from Diego Chara dispossessing a Philadelphia player at midfield. Valeri picked up the ball just outside the 18-yard box, playing a low pass to Chara racing towards the left side of the penalty area. Chara then cut the ball back into the path of Fernandez, whose right-footed shot from the middle of the box was placed into the empty net.
The Union cut into the Timbers lead to begin the second half when Fafa Picault's shot from inside the six-yard box was fired off the post and rolled just over the goal line to make it 2-1.
In the 63rd minute, goalkeeper Steve Clark made a critical stop to deny Picault at point-blank range. Haris Medunjanin served a ball into the center of the box and Picault directed a header on goal from close range, forcing Clark to react and make the save. Clark made another save less than 10 minutes, diving to his right in the 71st minute to make a diving stop on a shot by Alejandro Bedoya.
The Timbers increased their lead to 3-1 in the 87th minute as Valeri recorded his third goal of the season. Building from the back and completing a series of passes, Valeri played the ball to Blanco near the edge of box and Blanco played it directly back to Valeri, who curled a perfect strike into the bottom right corner of the goal.
The Timbers are 4-1-1 in their last six road matches. It is the third time in Portland's MLS history that the club has won four or more away matches over the span of six road games.
Portland's four road wins are tied for the third-most road wins the club has had in a single season, behind only the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
The Timbers scored three or more goals in an away match for the third time this season, which is tied for the most in MLS In 2019.
Portland has recorded four consecutive wins against the Union, outscoring Philadelphia 11-3 in those matches.
Brian Fernandez scored two goals in his first start for the Timbers. Fernandez is the first Portland player to have a brace in his first MLS start for the club.
Fernandez is the second Timbers player to score in each of his first two MLS matches with the club, joining Gastón Fernández.
Diego Valeri scored his third goal of the season in the match.
Andy Polo notched his first assist of the season and the third of his Timbers career.
Valeri recorded his seventh of assist of the season, which is tied for second-most in MLS. With the assist against the Union, Valeri has 72 career MLS assists.
Valeri has tallied seven or more assists in each of his seven seasons with the Timbers.
Diego Chara recorded his second assist of the season, increasing his career total to 19 assists, which ranks as ninth-most in clubs history across all eras.
Sebastián Blanco delivered his sixth assist of the season, tying him for fourth-most in MLS in 2019.
Blanco now has 25 assists for his Timbers career and becomes the seventh Timbers player across all eras of the club to have 25 or more assists.
Eryk Williamson made his MLS debut, entering the match as a second-half substitute.
After playing the final game of a record, 12-game road trip to start the season, the Timbers will return to Providence Park for their 2019 home opener on Saturday, June 1, when they play host to LAFC. Beginning at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific), Saturday's match will feature a national television broadcast on ESPN2 with local radio broadcasts on 1029 and 750 The Game (English) and La GranD 1150AM/93.5 FM (Spanish).
Portland Timbers (4-6-2, 14pts) vs. Philadelphia Union (7-4-3, 24pts)
May 25, 2019 - Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, Pa.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 2 1 3
Philadelphia Union 0 1 1
POR: Fernandez (Polo), 31
POR: Fernandez (Chara, Valeri), 36
PHI: Przybylko (Picault, Wagner), 47
POR: Valeri (Blanco), 87
POR: Clark (caution), 22
PHI: Elliot (caution), 85
POR: Chara (caution), 90'+3"
POR: GK Clark, D Valentin, D Mabiala, D Tuiloma, D Villafaña, M Chara, M Polo (Cascante, 67), M Flores, M Valeri © (Williamson, 88), F Fernandez, F Ebobisse (Blanco, 60)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Attinella, D Dielna, D Moreira, M Conechny
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Fernandez, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Fernandez, 3); FOULS: 10 (Chara, 4); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 4
PHI: GK Blake, D Gaddis (Ngalina, 81), D, Elliot, D Trusty, D Wagner, M Bedoya ©, M Medunjanin, M Monteiro, M Aaronson (Ilsinho, 45), F Przybylko, F Picault (Santos, 67)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Carlos, D Fabinho, D Collin, M Creavalle
TOTAL SHOTS: 18 (Przybylko, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Przybylko, 2); FOULS: 5 (Five players tied, 5); OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 4
Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistant Referees: Claudiu Badea, Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Kevin Broadley
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez
Weather: Partly cloudy, 69 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial
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