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MLS is Back: Philadelphia Union v Portland Timbers

MLS is Back tournament Semifinal: How and when to watch the Philadelphia Union vs Portland Timbers

August 5, 2020 By Juan Aguerrevere
MLS is Back Tournament semifinal play begins with the Philadelphia Union taking on the Portland Timbers to decide the first finalist on Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 8 p.m. ET.

The Union have endured a strong campaign so far in Orlando securing positive results in each of their five games so far. Meanwhile, the Timbers imposed themselves as a serious threat to any team that steps on the same pitch as them. You can catch all the MLS is Back Tournament semifinal action through FS1 for an English broadcast or UniMas for Spanish. 

Philadelphia Union vs Portland Timbers: Match Preview

This inter-continental matchup has seen the Portland Timbers win six of the ten games between the two clubs. The Philadelphia Union only won once in 2015. 

Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia Union had a great showing in group stages. They went on to defeat New York City FC and Inter Miami in their two opening MLS is Back Tournament matches. However, a draw to hosts Orlando City saw them finish second by goal differential. The Union went on to defeat the New England Revolution 1-0 in the round of 16 thanks to Brazilian forward Sergio Santos' goal. And again, Santos would prove to be hero scoring two goals and assisting a third to defeat Sporting Kansas City 3-1 to reach the semifinals. 

Santos cemented himself as the U's go-to goalscorer after a successful playoff run, but he couldn't have done it without the rest of his team. Jim Curtin's Philadelphia Union relies on a strong midfield presence. Veteran Alejandro Bedoya, Jose Martinez and Jairo Quintero make up a line of three midfielders sitting behind academy product Brenden Aaronson. These four players can dominate games, whether it be going forward or defending, making them one of the most efficient midfield units in the tournament. The backline led by goalkeeper Andre Blake and 21-year-old center back Mark McKenzie has been as effective having not conceded more than a goal per game. They will be put to the test when they face Portland's efficient offense, including Sebastian Blanco, who has two goals and five assists in the tournament.

Injuries: Warren Creavalle (Questionable, upper leg strain)

Portland Timbers

The Portland Timbers enjoyed an early start to the tournament by defeating the LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo in their first two games. The Timbers went into their last group stage match intending to find a win or draw against tournament favorites LAFC. Despite going down 2-1 before the half, MLS is Back break-out forward Jeremy Ebobisse found the back of the net with nine minutes to go on regular time to claim first place in Group E.

Portland was matched-up with defensive-minded FC Cincinnati lead by Jaap Stam in the round of 16. Polish forward Jaroslaw Niezgoda broke the deadlock in the second half in Portland's favor, scoring just three minutes after being subbed on. Cincinnati equalized late in the game forcing the match to go to penalties. However, the Timbers won the shootout. Portland went on to play New York City FC in the quarterfinal, winning the game 3-1 after a strong second-half showing.

Portland Timbers manager Giovanni Savarese knows his team like the back of his hand. He's been with the team since December 2017, and fans are now getting to see what the Venezuelan is capable of doing with a deep roster. Seven of Portland's nine goals in the tournament came in the second half and four of those goals were scored by substitutes. Savarese deploys a defensive and physical starting lineup to then make the best out of his five substitutions in the second half. With players like Diego Valeri, Andy Polo, Niezgoda amongst others coming on from the bench, Savarese has all the options to go on and win, not just this upcoming semifinal, but the tournament. 

Injuries: Dairon Asprilla (OUT, left knee), Marco Farfan (Questionable, right ankle), Yimmi Chara (Questionable, right thigh), Andres Flores (Unavailable)

Philadelphia Union vs Portland Timbers: Broadcast Information


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