PORTLAND, Ore. — Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi scored second-half goals to give the Portland Timbers a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday
The victory gave Portland (11-11-8) 41 points and moved it ahead of Sporting Kansas City for fifth place in the Western Conference. The loss kept Philadelphia (11-11-8) at 41 points. The Union are fourth in the Eastern Conference.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these guys,” Portland coach Caleb Porter said. “The nice thing is we’re starting to get that continuity and that consistency, like we always do. We smell the postseason and you can see it in the performances at home.”
In the first minute of the half, Portland’s Darren Mattocks turned past defender Keegan Rosenberry on the Philadelphia end line, then delivered a driven pass to Valeri a couple yards from goal. From that close, it was a simple task for the forward to redirect the ball past goalkeeper Andre Blake for his 12th goal of the season.
“You see how hard (Mattocks) works. Three or four times, he was able to press the back line. If you look at the first goal, it all comes from his workrate,” Porter said.
Less than a minute later, Philadelphia evened the score. Fabian Herbers drove toward the edge of the Portland penalty area, where two defenders forced him into overrunning the ball. Fortunately for the Union, Chris Pontius was following the play and jumped on the stationary ball, slamming a left-footed shot past Portland goalkeeper Jake Gleeson for his 11th goal.
Portland regained the lead in the 53rd minute, with Mattocks again setting things up. After collecting a poor clearance by Rosenberry, Mattocks attempted a 12-yard shot, which deflected off Adi standing on the 6-yard line and into the goal for his 15th goal of the year.
Even with two assists, Mattocks admitted he would have really enjoyed scoring. “It’s special against Andre Blake. We get together with the (Jamaican) National Team. That would have been icing on the cake,” said Mattocks.
“A lot of chances created on the day. We made a couple mistakes. I think they made a couple mistakes. We got punished for ours,” Philadelphia coach Jim Curtin said. “Adi and Valeri were a handful and they made us pay.”
Valeri and Adi have scored 27 of Portland’s 45 goals this season. The next highest scorer on the team is Jack McInerney with five, the last on July 13.
Philadelphia finished the match with 10 players, after defender Joshua Yaro received his second yellow card of the game in the 85th minute.
“Disappointing that Josh gets sent off. If you watched, the first yellow card is a mistake,” Curtin said.