The Portland Timbers scored three unanswered goals to secure a spot in the semifinal round of the MLS is Back Tournament with a 3-1 win in the quarterfinals against New York City FC at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Saturday night. Sebastián Blanco equalized for Portland late in the first half, while Diego Valeri and Andy Polo added second-half goals to secure the win.
Diego Chara Mr. 300
Diego Chara appeared in his 300th match across all competitions for the Timbers, which is the most in club history. Since making his debut with the Timbers on April 23, 2011, Chara has tallied 10 goals and 22 assists in 300 appearances (297 starts) for the club.
With the win, the Timbers advanced to the semifinals of a competitive tournament for the 12th time as a club. Portland also accomplished the feat in the 1975 NASL Playoffs, the 1978 NASL Playoffs, 1989 WSL Playoffs, the 2007 USL Playoffs, the 2009 USL Playoffs, the 2013 U.S. Open Cup, the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs, the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs, the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs and the 2019 U.S. Open Cup.
Blanco recorded his second goal and fifth assist of the tournament on Saturday against NYCFC. His five assists are tied for the tournament lead with Toronto FC’s Alejandro Pozuelo. Blanco has been directly involved in seven (2g, 5a) of Portland’s 10 goals at the tournament. Notably, Blanco registered an assist for a fifth consecutive match. He has recorded an assist in all five matches at the tournament – the longest streak of games with an assist in Portland’s MLS history.
With his strike in the second half, Polo recorded his first goal of the tournament. He became the fifth player to tally a goal for the Timbers in the competition, joining Blanco, Jeremy Ebobisse, Jaroslaw Niezgoda and Valeri. Additionally, Blanco and Valeri both notched their second goals of the tournament becoming the third and fourth players to record multiple goals for Portland in the competition along with Ebobisse (3g) and Niezgoda (2g). Niezgoda recorded his first career assist with the Timbers. With the assist, Niezgoda became the seventh player to record an assist for Portland in the tournament.
NYC – Jesús Medina (penalty kick), 27th minute: After Portland committed a foul inside the box, Jesús Medina converted from the penalty spot.
POR – Sebastián Blanco, 43rd minute: Jorge Villafaña’s cross from the left side was cleared from inside the box, but Blanco intercepted the pass and sent a curling strike inside the right post.
POR – Diego Valeri (Jaroslaw Niezgoda), 65th minute: Near the edge of the box, Niezgoda combined with Valeri, who fired a well-placed strike inside the left post from inside the box.
POR – Andy Polo (Sebastián Blanco), 76th minute: Just one minute after entering the match, Polo dribbled down the left side of the field and unleashed a powerful, curling strike from just outside the box into the top right corner of the goal.
In the semifinals, Portland takes on the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday, Aug. 5; kickoff is set for 5 p.m. (Pacific) on FS1