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Rate the U: An exclamation point before a break

Three set piece goals, Blake saves and a clean sheet send the Union into the break flying high

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Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin has talked a lot about the schedule the Union have had to endure in their first season with a Champions League campaign and while much has been made about what games are more important, it’s been a consistent lineup for the most part carrying the weight in all those games.

The Portland Timbers has faced a similar gauntlet with the start of their 2021 campaign but were at a greater disadvantage coming into Chester for Sunday night’s game. Unlike the Union, they had a cross-country flight and an injury list roughly the size of a CVS receipt.

Even with so much going against them Portland looked like they may score an early goal when Diego Valeri stepped up to take a dangerous free kick that might have been his 100th career goal in all competitions for the Timbers if not for a diving save from Andre Blake.

The Union opened the scoring with a free kick of their own when Kacper Przybylko was somehow left completely unmarked and Kai Wagner delivered a strike that he was able to easily get past former Ocean City Nor’easters goalkeeper Logan Ketterer. Przybylko was involved on another set piece from Wagner when he headed Wagner’s corner toward goal where Sergio Santos was able to knock it in past Ketterer.

From there it felt like every restart the Union got was going into the back of the net. Leon Flach appeared to make it three goals in the first half when he scored off another corner kick but the goal was waived off after video review. Jack Elliott got the third goal after Cory Burke did well to get to the rebound on his own shot of Jamiro Monteiro’s corner and Elliott was there to punch the ball in. Burke had a chance to extend the lead late on a breakaway but his attempt was denied by Ketterer.

It was the Union’s most dominant performance of the season and yet it still felt like Curtin wanted to see them be more clinical from open play, which is a good problem to have when you’ve just won a game by three goals I suppose.

What did you think of the individual performances, Jim Curtin’s decisions and other aspects of the game? Let us hear it in the Community Player Ratings Poll.

Matthew Ralph is the managing editor of Philadelphia Soccer Now / Brotherly Game. He's covered soccer at all levels for many years in the Philadelphia region and has also written for TheCup.us, NPSL, PrepSoccer and other publications. He lives with his wife and two young children in Broomall, Pa., but grew up in South Jersey and is originally from Kansas.

Copyright © 2024 Philadelphia Soccer Now and Brotherly Game

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