Match previews / Union

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs. Portland Timbers

Photo: 215pix

Who: Philadelphia Union (1st in the East, 24 points, 7-3-3) vs. Portland Timbers (10th in the West, 11 points, 3-2-6)
What: 2019 regular season game
Where: Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, PA
When: Sunday, May 25 at 7:30 pm
Watch: PHL17, Root Sports NW, MLS Live on ESPN+
Whistle: Marcos DeOliveira; Jose DeSilva, Eric Boria; Lorant Varga; Jose Carlos Rivero, Craig Lowry

May is almost over, and the Union still sit at the top of the East. That’s just it though, they’re top of the East, and talk is that the West is the stronger conference again this season. And there’s a Western Conference team coming to town this weekend. In fact, it’s the team that represented the West in the MLS Cup Final last season. But the results show the 2019 Timbers aren’t the same as the 2018 Timbers.

Scouting report: Portland Timbers

Possible Portland Lineup

All discussion of the Timbers has to start with the disclaimer that they’ve been on a prolonged road trip as Providence Park adds seating to address the dramatic under-supply of tickets in Portland. And road points are hard to find in MLS, so some of the Timber’s troubles can be attributed to that.

But not all of their troubles. These aren’t the Timbers of yore; it’s not a team-first group that punches well above it’s weight. In fact despite the presence of a handful of recognizable names on the team, there are really no players in Portland to be scared of. Sure, Diego Valeri is still a great player, but with the talent around him it’s not like the team is bagging a ton of goals.

Of-note, Diego Chara and Sebastian Blanco are both top-20 for yellow cards this season, and Chara and Larrys Mabiala have each earned a red card. So you can expect the Timbers to put up a fight regardless of the scoreline.

  • Injury report: Aljaz Ivacic (GK, left tibial fracture); Questionable: Kendall McIntosh (GK, left thigh strain)
  • Suspended: None, Diego Chara misses a game on next yellow.
Scouting report: Philadelphia Union

Possible Union Lineup

There is some uncertainty about the Union at the moment. What selection of Sergio Santos, Kacper Przybylko, and Fafa Picault will work best? Can Brenden Aaronson continue his impressive freshman year? Will Jamiro Monteiro make it even harder for the Union front office to keep him as “just” a loan? When will Marco Fabián return?

Notice how none of those questions are bad? The Union have every reason to feel confident going into this game. That doesn’t mean victory is assured; Portland actually has one more road win than the Union so far this season. But even with all those questions hanging over the team, the Union should win handily.

  • Injury report: Matt Freese (GK, oblique strain); Questionable: Warren Creavalle (M, left hamstring), Marco Fabián (M, left ankle)
  • Suspended: None.
Key matchup

Diego Valeri vs. Auston Trusty. Don’t get distracted by Jeremy Ebobisse’s team-leading four goals. The real threat is Diego Valeri. His two goals aren’t particularly intimidating, but he’s got six assists. That means he’s had a foot on over half of the Timber’s goals. If Portland has a chance, it’s the Portland veteran out-maneuvering the young Union defender.

Player to watch

Sergio Santos. The Brazilian impressed with scant minutes early in the season. But now that he’s healthy and ready to play, he failed to impress against Seattle. Portland should offer less resistance than their Cascadian rivals, which should give Santos plenty of room to get his groove back.

Prediction: Philadelphia 3 – 0 Portland

This isn’t the old Union, and it’s not the old Timbers. Expect the Portland’s long road-trip struggles to continue as they visit the scenic Chester waterfront.

7 Comments

  1. I’ll be there to see them win. I hope the stadium is packed again; more fun that way.

  2. el Pachyderm says:

    This is the one they need to win. Draw Seattle then beat The Traveling Wilbury’s

  3. Kevin1813 says:

    Portland just signed a new DP forward though. He scored off the bench in his first game last Wednesday.
    .
    That being said he need to grab 3 points.

  4. Portland has one more road win than the Union because they’ve played five more road games than the Union. You might as well mention that the Union have 7 more wins than the Eagles in 2019.

  5. LOL. Nostradamus you’re not.

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