Wed, 31 May 2023

East-leading Union with something to prove vs. Timbers

Field Level Media
22 May 2022, 09:19 GMT+10

The Philadelphia Union have never had much success against the Portland Timbers.

The Union's 3-0 victory against Portland in Philadelphia last season was just their second in 12 all-time games against the Timbers (2-7-3).

Sunday night, the MLS's Eastern Conference-leading Union (5-1-6, 21 points) will attempt to win at Portland for the first time in franchise history.

The Union have managed just one point in five trips to Providence Park, a 1-1 tie in 2014. Philadelphia's scoreless tie with Inter Miami CF on Wednesday was its fifth consecutive MLS tie.

"We're still in a good spot in the table," Union coach Jim Curtin said. "We haven't played our best game yet, which I'm OK with. We've had some guys have very good seasons, we've had some guys have some average seasons, and some that need to do a little bit better for the group. But the message is, if we get everybody just going good, is there a team in the league that's better than us?"

Daniel Gazdag leads the Union with six goals, with Julian Carrara scoring four.

The Timbers (3-4-6, 15 points), who entered the weekend in 10th place in the Western Conference, scored a franchise-record seven goals in beating Sporting Kansas City at home last weekend. Sebastian Blanco had two goals and two assists in the 7-2 win to earn MLS' Player of the Week award.

But the Timbers followed that with a 3-2 loss Wednesday at San Jose, despite defender Bill Tuiloma's team-leading fourth goal of the season. It matched Tuiloma's total over the previous four campaigns.

"It's always disappointing when you're not able to get points," Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said. "You leave with the sour taste that we could've gotten more.

"Now we have to reflect again and continue to work. We have another match Sunday against a difficult Philadelphia team at home and we need to prepare for it."

Curtin cautioned not to overlook the Timbers.

"Right around this mark (of the season), you start to realize who the top teams are. And for me, Portland still is a top team," Curtin said. "When a team puts up seven goals, it speaks to the quality of the talent that they have. And they can score goals a lot of different ways."

--Field Level Media

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