Saturday was the Diego Valeri show, as he would come off the bench to score the go-ahead goal in the Portland Timbers 3-1 win over a somewhat poor NYCFC side. Now it’s time for the semifinals: If the Timbers win, they’re on to the final and a shot to earn a place in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.
For the Philadelphia Union, they had to go through the New England Revolution and Sporting Kansas City to arrive in the semifinals. While they squeaked by New England 1-0, they took the Sporks to the woodshed with a convincing 3-1 win.
It’ll be interesting to see what lineup Gio Savarese goes with. I’m pretty sure you’re not going to see Diego Valeri coming off the bench in this one, so he has to put out the strongest 11 he can come up with. While I don’t think Andy Polo will start, after his performance against NYCFC, he should see minutes. The defense Saturday looked a bit shaky, especially at right and left back. I think letting Zarek Valentin go to Houston was a bit of a mistake if hindsight is 20/20, but that’s just this writer’s opinion on the subject.
Game Day Reading
Six Degrees: The March Goes On
Jorge Villafana’s near the sideline, and I’m expecting him to stay there and settle for a hopeful cross. But no. Instead, Sebastian Blanco’s pass leads Jorge into the box, where he looks up to see not one, not two, but three targets in the box. He sends the ball in to Yimmi Chara, there’s a lucky bounce off a defender, it falls to Blanco, then he’s putting an absolutely clinical strike into the side netting. We had gone from our shitty former offense to our exciting current offense in just a matter of seconds.
Niezgoda scored only seven minutes into his debut on the way to a 2-2 draw that would see Portland secure the top spot of Group F. He made a run down the middle of the pitch and received a line-breaking pass from Sebastian Blanco. The forward calmly slotted it in the bottom corner of the net, notching his first MLS goal.
'Bout time to battle— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) August 5, 2020
Our Starting XI vs. @PhilaUnion in tonight's semifinal.#PHIvPOR | #RCTID | #MLSisBack pic.twitter.com/UFW3ETIAYR— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) August 5, 2020
Location: ESPN Wild World Of Sports Complex, Orlando FL
Kick-off time: 5:00pm pst/8:00pm est
TV broadcast: FS1
Rival SB Nation Blog: The Brotherly Game
Radio broadcast: 750 The Game (English) and La GranD 1150AM/93.5 FM (Spanish)