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Portland ties franchise record after defeating Philadelphia

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Portland, OR — With a loud and sold out Providence Park Saturday night, the Portland Timbers (10-3-7)  beat the Philadelphia Union (8-11-3). With the victory, Portland extended their undefeated streak to 15 games, tying the Timbers’ club record set in 2013.

The Timbers are now in second place in the Western Conference. Portland’s Diego Valeri and Darion Asprilla both converted on penalty kicks to take a 2-0 lead. During the second half, David Guzman scored his team’s final goal on a free kick.

Althought Portland won, the Timbers struggled to move forward in the first half. In fact, the majority of the possessions went to Philadelphia.

“I thought the first thirty minutes in the first half were too slow with the ball movement,” said Timbers’ head coach Giovanni Savarese. “We had too many guys too far back.”

Philadelphia head coach Jim Curtin chose to rest most of their regular starting players. The Union will be playing against the Chicago Fire at the U.S Open Cup semifinal on Wednesday, August 8.

Even with most of the starters sitting out, they kept the pressure on Portland. And Philadelphia forward C.J. Sapong had two attempts on target– one in the 23rd minute and one in the 46th.  Unfortuantely, both shots — which were assisted by Fabian Herbers — were saved by Portland goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.

By the end of the first half, it seemed the Timbers were more confident driving down the line, opening up space and creating more attempts at goals. In the second half, Portland started higher in the line and put more pressure on Philadelphia. In the 58th minute, Portland’s Alvas Powell was pushed down in the box by Philadelphia’s Fabhino.

The Timbers were given an opportunity for a penalty kick and Valeri stepped up, converting the first goal of the game. Valeri, who was the Major League Soccer MVP last year, scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season.

This first goal was the fuel needed to get the Timbers going, and they dominated in possession in the second half, closing the Union off from getting into good spaces.

A second penalty kick was awarded to the Timbers after the Union’s Warren Creavelle drew a foul in the box on Valeri. In the 84th minute, Dairon Asprilla, who was substituted into the game for Samuel Armenteros, got his first goal this season and put the Timbers up 2-0.

When asked how it meant for Asprilla to get that goal, Savarese said it is encouraging.

“(It’s) good for a forward to be able to score, especially when it’s your first goal,” Savarese said. “(It) gives confidence, and it was great for Valeri to let Asprilla take it”.

The Timbers’ third goal came from midfielder David Guzman in the 86th minute, when he headed the ball into the goal with an assist from Valeri, from a free kick given to Diego Chara.

Philadelphia midfielder Alejandro Bedoya was given a yellow card at the 90th minute.

The Timbers only had one substitution in the game, while the Union had three. Since the possession in the second half was good, Savarese felt more substitutions would have wasted time in the game.

The Union will now focus on trying to get their third U.S Open Cup final in five years, and next up for the Timbers is a match against their rival, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, August 11th, as the Timbers look to extend their unbeaten streak and set a new franchise record.

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