This Saturday, the Philadelphia Union will travel to Portland to begin a three game away stretch before finishing up the season with two games at home. Currently sitting in 4th place, 3 points behind both New York teams and 3 points ahead of Montreal who have a game in hand. The Union will look to pick up any points they can on the road. Portland on the other head find themselves just above the playoff line in the West. With 38 points, the Timbers are only 1 point behind Sporting KC and 4 points ahead of Vancouver and will look to take all three points as they try and stay above the playoff line. Philly will have a tough time finding points in this game as Portland have won two-thirds of their games at home this season. The good news for the Union is that the Timbers may found themselves with some tired legs after playing in a mid-week CCL game. Two of Portland’s stars, Fanendo Adi and Diego Valeri, played 70 and 77 minutes respectfully during the CCL game. The defense of the Union will need to keep their eyes on Adi and Valeri who both have double digit goals for the season and the two dangerous in the open run of play and on set pieces.

The last time, these two teams played in a regular season match was back on July 11, 2015 in Chester. A dominating 3-0 win for the Union with goals being supplied by ex-Union players, Wenger (1 goal) and Nogueira (2 goals). The last match between these two teams in Portland was two years ago during the 2014 season opener. This match ended in a draw, with Portland tying the match in the 94th minute after Jack McInerney gave the Union the lead in the 64th minute.

Last Saturday’s draw to Montreal was a tough one to swallow for the Union. After capturing the lead in the 45th minute thanks to a goal from Barnetta, the Impact tied the game up in the 88th minute off of a free kick. A win at Portland would keep the Union in the top 4 in the East, and inch the team closer to securing home field advantage in the first round of the playoff. Montreal has a game in hand on the Union and could jump ahead of them if the Union loses and if they can capture at least 4 points in their next two games.

A few quick player notes to keep track off for this week’s game. Jim Curtin during his weekly press conference said that Warren Creavalle is dealing with tendonitis in his knee (I’m predicting that Carroll will start over Creavalle at Portland). Maurice Edu could travel with the team to Portland after playing the full 90 minutes in last week’s Bethlehem Steel game. Lastly, free agent German midfielder, Kevin Kratz, signed with the Union on Thursday. Kratz lasted played for SV Sanhausen.

 

Here are a few observations and predictions for this week’s game:

-Ex-Union players: Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo and Chris Konopka all currently play for the Timbers. McInerney has 5 goals for the Timbers this season.

-Tranquillo Barnetta has scored in two of the Union’s last three games.

-Predicted Score line: 2-1 Timbers

-Predicted Union Lineup: Blake, Fabinho, Marquez, Yaro, Rosenberry, Carroll, Bedoya, Pontius, Barnetta, Herbers, Sapong.

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