Through the group stages and the knockout rounds, the Timbers have continued to impress. It would surely be an almost unanimous decision that Sebastian Blanco has been the player of the tournament thus far and the injection of class from Ebobisse, Niezgoda and of course Valeri has so far proven too powerful for any defense.
Against Philly, the Timbers really hit another gear. While we did’t convert, we peppered Andre Blake in the Union goal and had we had a bit more luck, the scoreline could have read more than 2 goals for the Timbers. At the same time, Philly did send a penalty over the bar but there were plenty of chances that went without a finish for the green and gold.
Most danger came from the left wing and the feet of Blanco, who found all the joy in the world by camping out on the touchline on what looks to be an enormous field in Orlando. From there, the Timbers found consistent danger switching the play or finding a more direct route.
Before Blanco nodded home at the far post, the Timbers failed to capitalize on several beautifully constructed chances and it was approaching conscious that should they fail to finish one of the chances that was coming their way, they may be punished for it on a break from Philly. Fortunately, they did bag a second before Philly found a goal off a rebound from a saved free kick late on.
It goes without stating that the circumstances of the tournament are bizarre but what we are learning about the Timbers is that this team has a tournament mentality. It’s harsh to judge them off their two league games before the shutdown but it’s clear that this team has a winning mentality and when it comes to tournament play, they are experienced and hungry. In the final, the Timbers will face either Orlando or Minnesota who square up tonight at 5:00 pm.
It may a bit like a Mickey Mouse Cup but it’s a cup nonetheless and a unique piece of footballing history that the Timbers could claim. This run has been a bright spot for us all during the shutdown and fingers crossed they can produce just one more performance like what we’ve seen so far.