Orlando, Fla. – Amidst a tournament that played host to shocking upsets, unpredictable results, and new faces of MLS, it was the MLS staple that advanced to the semi-finals on Saturday. New York City FC faced off against a clinical Portland Timbers FC
Clinical Portland Timbers Beat NYCFC in MiB Quarterfinal
City strikes first
After a cagey start to the match, it was NYCFC that found themselves on the scoresheet first. Following a penalty call, designated player Jesus Medina slotted the pk past Steve Clark to make it 1-0. Medina’s second goal of the tournament continued his impressive run of form from the group stage.
Though they appeared disorganized Portland were the better side in the first half following the penalty. Their change of form bore fruit in the 43’ when Sebastian Blanco curled a beautiful shot past an outstretched Sean Johnson to make it 1-1. Blanco’s threat as an inverted winger was felt throughout the quarter-final match.
Sean Johnson keeps hope alive
Portland carried their run of form into the second half, with only goalkeeping spectaculars from Sean Johnson preventing the Timbers from gaining the advantage. Johnson’s goalkeeping had been a highlight in City’s shaky season, with Saturday being no different.
2 ridiculous saves by Sean Johnson to keep it tied
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) August 2, 2020
Johnson’s performance between the sticks was what kept NYCFC in it, but the USMNT goalkeeper could only do so much.
The veteran answers
Johnson’s heroics only took City so far, when Timber legend Diego Valeri found space in the box to slot a shot into the back of the net in the 65’. Valeri’s 80th goal as a Timber was the decisive one in Portland’s victory.
Portland would brilliantly double their advantage in the 76′ when substitute Andy Polo bends a strike from outside of the box and into the top left corner.
ANDY POLO WHAT HAVE YOU JUST DONE pic.twitter.com/gYE3azT7Wg
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 2, 2020
With the victory, Portland advances to the inaugural MLS is Back Tournament semi-final. The Timbers are set to take on the Philadelphia Union in the last four.