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Portland Timbers vs Philadelphia Union has been a fixture that has been dominated by the Timbers for the most part in recent times – they have won four of the last five meetings.
Timbers have won seven of the 12 meetings in the history of the fixture, while the Union has registered just two wins. However, the last meeting between these two sides was won comprehensively by Philadelphia.
When they met back in May 2021 at the Subaru Park, Philadelphia Union dominated the game from the start to the end. Kacper Przybyłko and Sergio Santos scored inside the first 30 minutes to hand the home side a 2-0 lead before VAR ruled out a third in the first half by Leon Flach. Jack Elliott made it 3-0 right after the hour mark and the game ended without any response from the away side.
Jim Curtin’s men were on top of their game and kept 53 percent of the ball, had 16 shots on goal, hit the woodwork once, and scored thrice even though they managed just five shots on target. They were clinical in front of the goal, and that helped them win as Portland Timbers managed to create just two big chances and missed both.
However, the four meetings prior to that were all dominated by Portland Timbers. They scored 11 goals in those matches – scoring three goals in three games and twice in one – while conceding just three times – keeping a clean sheet once.
Portland Timbers are not at their best this season and have won just three times in their 13 matches so far. They sit 17th in the Supporters’ Shield standings right now, and they have drawn almost half their games – six out of 13 – and lost four times.
While the league position looks decent right now, most of the teams right below them in the table have played fewer games. Some teams like the 18th placed Seattle Sounders have three games in hand while sitting just two points behind, while 24th placed Inter Miami could also jump above the Timbers if they win their game in hand. To make things worse for Portland, they are out of the US Open Cup as well after losing to Los Angeles FC earlier in May. They were beaten 1-0 away from home, with Cristian Arango and Mamadou Fall getting the goals for LAFC.
Portland made a decent start to the league season with 5 points from their first three matches. They drew 2-2 with the New England Revolution and followed it up with another draw – 1-1 against Los Angeles FC in the second game week. Both games saw Yimmi Chara scoring spectacular overhead kicks to get the points for them.
They got their first win of the season in the 3rd game week when they faced Austin FC. The current table-toppers were stunned by the Timbers as Bill Tuiloma scored the lone goal of the game.
But the win could not help them get their season up and running as they were beaten 4-1 by FC Dallas. Jesús Ferreira scored a 10-minute hattrick in the first half, and Paul Arriola sealed the win with the 4th goal in the second half. Jarosław Niezgoda pulled one back for the away side at the hour mark but could not spark a comeback. The defeat was followed by a draw to Orlando City and a 3-1 loss to LA Galaxy.
Giovanni Savarese’s side managed to get back to winning ways when they faced Vancouver Whitecaps and edged out a 3-2 win. Once again, they failed to make the most of the momentum they gained and drew goalless to Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake.
Their failure to get another win saw them lose ground and fall 2-0 to Colorado Rapids and then draw against New York Red Bulls. Portland brought out their best performance of the season last weekend when they faced Sporting Kansas City. They thrashed the 25th placed side 7-2 to register a stunning win but once again failed to carry the momentum and lost 3-2 to San Jose Earthquakes in the midweek.
Blake Bodily, Claudio Bravo, Diego Gutiérrez, George Fochive, Hunter Sulte and Felipe Mora are ruled out for Portland Timbers. Jose Carlos van Rankin is back from his suspension after he got sent off in the win over Sporting Kansas City.
Philadelphia Union have lost just once in the league this season but are still not at the top of the table in a competitive top 4. The main issue for that is their consistent draws in the league, and that has seen them sitting 4th in the table – two points behind the leaders, Austin FC.
All of Philadelphia Union’s last five matches have ended in a draw, but only one of them has been goalless. The only loss this season was just before this five-match run when they faced Toronto FC. Jesús Jiménez and Alejandro Pozuelo scored for the Canadian side to seal a comeback win after Julián Carranza handed Union the lead in the 34th minute.
In the five-match run of consecutive draws, Philadelphia Union have dropped points to CF Montreal, Nashville SC, Los Angeles FC, New York Red Bulls, and Inter Miami CF.
Dropping ten points in those games has seen them drop from the top of the table after a stunning start to the season. They had won five of their opening six matches and were the team to beat this season. However, once the five-match winning run came to an end against Toronto in April, they have not been able to recover and have consistently dropped points.
Jim Curtin needs to find a solution quickly if they are to get back to the top of the table. Another loss or draw this weekend could be devastating to the player’s confidence as that could derail their season even though more than half of it is left to be played.
Cory Burke is one forward who needs to step up quickly as he has managed just two goals this season – both coming in the opening two matches. Since then, he has not been able to get the ball into the back of the net, nor has he assisted a single goal.
His drop in form, along with Julián Carranza – who has scored four goals this season – has been the main reason for Union’s struggle in the recent matches. If the two forwards get their shooting boots back and start scoring, things could change for good once again for the Union.
Mikael Uhre is the only player who is doubtful for the game, while the rest of the squad is available for Jim Curtin to choose from.
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|Portland Timbers vs Philadelphia Union Information|
|Teams||Portland Timbers vs Philadelphia Union|
|Time||Sunday, May 22 at 10 pm EST|
|How to watch||FS1, FOX Deportes|
Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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