Orlando (USA), Aug 5.- The Portland Timbers, with goals from Jeremy Ebobisse and Argentine Sebastián Rubio beat the Philadelphia Union 2-1 this Wednesday in the first semifinal of the Return Tournament of the Professional League of United States Soccer (MLS).
The Timbers will have to wait until this Thursday to meet the winner of the other semifinal between Orlando City and Minnesota United, who will be their rival in the final that will be played this Tuesday, on the same stage of the Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. .
The first goal of the match came in the 13th minute when striker Jeremy Ebobisse headed in, who was left alone in the area by the Union defense, while Argentine Diego Valeri, from the right side, dispatched a corner.
The Trinidadian goalkeeper of the Union, Andre Blake, did not move from the center of the goal where he was positioned, although in the end he would return to be one of the most outstanding players in the Philadelphia team.
Blake, two minutes earlier, at 11, had taken a miraculous hand to a great shot from Rubio from outside the area, from the left leg, when the ball was already going straight into the net from the bottom of the right post of the Philadelphia team.
As expected, the Union was in charge of having the ball, with two dominant men in the midfield, the American Colombian Alejandro Beyosa and the young promise of the youth team, Brende Aaronson, but the Timbers closed their lines well and the Colombian Diego Chará was tireless in covering spaces.
While the most dangerous player in the Union’s attack, Brazilian striker Sergio Santos, although he fired three shots on goal in the first half, Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark responded confidently.
In this way, the goal scored by the young Ebobisse, 23, was going to be of great importance in the consolidation of the counterattack football set up by the Timbers coach, Venezuelan Giovanni Savarese.
The Philadelphia team needed to do all the physical wear in search of the equalizer goal, which in the first half did not come, and that was another factor against him.
But Union coach Jim Curtin did not want to make any kind of change during the break and sent the same team that had started the game to the second half, as did Savarese.
However, the Venezuelan coach, at 56 minutes, surprised with the first changes, two goal men, such as the Polish center forward Jaroslaw Niezgoda and the Peruvian attacking midfielder Andy Polo for the young Costa Rican midfielder Marvin Loria.
Saverese’s movement was perfect because it put two players of great physical power, who could also define very well before the goal.
While Curtin realized that Santos could not with the defense of the Timbers and at 59 withdrew them and in his place put the also Brazilian, the veteran 34-year-old midfielder, Ilsinho, when the 59th minute was fulfilled.
But nothing changed in the offensive game of the Union, which did not create clear opportunities to get the tie goal, while the Timbers did create danger with their counterattack game, where the figure of Rubio began to shine once more, that every day is closer to the award of the best of the tournament.
Precisely, it would be Rubio, who at the 70th minute, in another great corner kick by Valeri from the right side, the Croatian defender Dario Zuparic touched the ball with his head to hit the ground and the Argentine midfielder, also with a header, finished off to pleasure 2-0.
The goal sentenced the game, although in the end it was loaded with suspense and emotion when at minute 85, the German Andrew Wooten, scored the Union’s goal of honor.
But it came too late because the Timbers had been the best team on the field, always having the advantage on the scoreboard, they set the pace of the game and Savarese won the strategy duel against Curtin, both former MLS players.