Philadelphia Union 3, Portland Timbers 0 | MLS Match Recap
CHESTER, Pa. – Andrew Wenger delivered, nine months to the day.
The Philadelphia Union forward snapped a 19-match MLS scoreless streak that dated back to last season, and Vincent Nogueira added a second-half brace in a 3-0 rout of the Portland Timbers on Saturday night at PPL Park.
Wenger’s 69th-minute goal opened the floodgates for Philadelphia. Two minutes later, Nogueira found the back of the net. In the 82nd minute, Nogueira tacked on another for Philadelphia (6-10-4, 22 points) to punctuate the Union’s first victory over Portland in club history. The Union had gone 0-3-2 in their five previous meetings with the Timbers.
Cristian Maidana assisted on all three goals, and goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre stopped four shots to pick up his fifth shutout in 10 league matches to extend the Union’s unbeaten streak to three matches and vault them into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
The loss signaled an end to Portland’s hot streak, as the Timbers entered the match winners of six of their last seven league matches dating back to May 27, but they remain in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with the idle LA Galaxy.
Despite 11 first-half shots, and a number of near misses, including Sebastien Le Toux and C.J. Sapong both clanging shots off the crossbar, the Union had nothing to show for it at halftime. Then, with 21 minutes left in regulation, Philadelphia struck.
Wenger controlled the ball a step inside midfield and took a handful of touches toward the goal box. From just outside the 18, he curled a left-footed shot past Portland ‘keeper Andrew Weber for the game’s first goal – and Wenger’s first in nine months. He had not tallied since an Oct. 11, 2014 loss to Columbus Crew SC.
Nogueira logged his fourth and fifth goals of the season in short order, ripping in a Maidana set-up in the 71st minute and doing so again in the 82nd.
Diego Valeri nearly made it a different story for the Timbers, who were missing five starters due to injury, squad rotation and international duty, with a free kick that went off the bar in the 36th minute. But Portland would barely threaten in the second half, recording just eight shots for the game.
Next weekend, crucial in-conference matchups await both teams. The Union visit Toronto FC on Saturday (4 pm ET, TSN and MLS LIVE in USA, while the Timbers play host to the Vancouver Whitecaps (10:30 pm ET, TSN and MLS LIVE in USA).