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Timbers make light work of NYCFC, advance to semi-finals

On the back of goals from Blanco, Valeri and Polo, the Timbers advanced to the semi-finals of the MLS is Back Tournament.

MLS: Portland Timbers at New York City FC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Timbers keep rolling! In an entertaining game of soccer on the first day of August, the Timbers outplayed and outscored New York City FC.

After a foul from Mabiala, the Timbers went down a goal in the 27th minute through a converted penalty from Jesus Medina. But the experience of the Timbers was on display as Sebastian Blanco latched onto a loose clearance from a Villafana cross and left NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson rooted in place with a smart finish to the far post in the 43rd.

MLS: Portland Timbers at New York City FC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Diego Valeri didn’t start but entered the game at halftime and had an impact 20 minutes later in the 65th. Jaroslaw Niezgoda, who also started on the bench, came in for Yimmi Chara in the 52nd minute and set up Valeri for the Timbers second. A clever chipped pass from Blanco found the feet of Valeri on the top of the box. A quick interchange between the Argentinian and the Pole freed up Valeri for a shot that he buried at the near post.

The icing on the cake came from Andy Polo in the 76th minute just a minute after he came on as a substitute. Blanco created space for Polo as he drew the defender into pressing him and then fed the Peruvian down the left wing. Polo elected to try his luck from outside the box and curled a beauty tot he far post, sealing the win for the Timbers. Side note—we couldn’t help but smile watching his celebration.

Aside from the stunning performance from Blanco, who had a heavy hand in all three goals, there was also a fine performance from Pablo Bonilla at right back and a late substitute appearance for Blake Bodily.

Next up for the Timbers will be the Philadelphia Union in the semi-finals on Wednesday at 5:00 pm. There’s no masking it, the prize of winning this tournament is dulled by the circumstances but don’t tell the Timbers that. So far, the tournament can best be summarized by this meme.