PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland’s offense pounded against Philadelphia’s defense for more than 71 minutes on Friday night at JELD-WEN Field, but in the end, Timbers defender Mamadou “Futty” Danso broke through to give the Timbers a 1-0 win.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Danso steered a perfectly placed header into the Union net in the 72nd minute and lifted the Timbers to their fourth straight MLS win at home.
The game was the first installment of FOX Soccer’s “Soccer Night in America” and offered a contrast in styles: The Timbers’ relentlessly running offense and the Philadelphia Union’s stout defense.
Portland threatened to score a couple of times in the first half on headers – one by Danso and the other by fellow defender Eric Brunner – on each side of a Union scoring attempt.
In the 26th minute, Danso rose over Philadelphia’s defense to meet a Jack Jewsbury corner kick but sent his nod wide right.
Thirteen minutes later, Philadelphia had their closest chance of the match. Forward Danny Mwanga beat his marker on the right flank and dribbled towards the box, sending in a roller that was deflected by a Timbers defender. Sebastien Le Toux followed up on the play, but his weak strike went right to goalkeeper Troy Perkins’ hands.
In the 45th minute, Jewsbury again arched a high service into Philadelphia’s box, but Brunner’s headed chance went just high over the crossbar to keep things even going into halftime.
Portland kept pushing forward in search of the win in the second half. Philly’s defense kept Portland at bay, forcing the home side to resort to long-distance shots. However, efforts from Jorge Perlaza, Sal Zizzo and Jewsbury failed to find the back of the net.
The Timbers finally broke through right at the 72nd-minute mark, when Danso placed a header between Union ‘keeper Faryd Mondragón and the upright. Jewsbury, who had been sending in perfect services off set pieces, curled in the free kick ball that Danso slotted home.
It was just the third goal the Union have conceded all season.
The Union pushed forward late to find the equalizer, but nearly surrendered two goals that would have iced the match with just minutes left. Speedy Perlaza caught the Philly defense on the counter but sent his shot wide of the far upright. Later, Brunner failed to slot home a rebound from five yards out.
In the 85th minute, Philadelphia’s Roger Torres attempted to equalize with a left-footed shot from outside the box, but his attempt was blocked. Le Toux followed it up with his own strike from the center of the box, but his effort was also denied.
With the win, the Timbers improved to 4-3-1. They will next travel to face Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle Sounders on May 15.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, fell to 4-2-1. They next head south to California to take on the LA Galaxy on May 11.
POR -- Mamadou Danso 1 (Jack Jewsbury 3) 72
POR -- Jorge Perlaza (caution; Reckless Tackle) 18
PHI -- Justin Mapp (caution; Reckless Tackle) 25
POR -- Eric Brunner (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 87
PHI -- Sheanon Williams (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 87
POR -- Rodney Wallace (caution; Delaying a Restart) 91+
Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Gabriel Farfan (Kyle Nakazawa 64), Carlos Valdes, Michael Farfan, Sebastien Le Toux, Justin Mapp (Roger Torres 78), Amobi Okugo (Jack McInerney 78), Brian Carroll, Danny Mwanga, Carlos Ruiz.
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Agorsor, Stefani Miglioranzi, Ryan Richter, Zac MacMath.
Portland Timbers -- Troy Perkins, Jeremy Hall, Eric Brunner, Mamadou Danso, Rodney Wallace, Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo 57), Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Kalif Alhassan (James Marcelin 81), Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Ryan Pore 89).
Substitutes Not Used: David Horst, Adam Moffat, Steve Purdy, Jake Gleeson.
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Referee's Assistants: Jason Cullum; Eric Proctor
4th Official: Drew Fischer