Both teams dialed up the energy at the start of the contest, but as the first half progressed, the Union were able to mount a possession advantage and gathered two goals in dead-ball situations to charge out to the 2-0 lead.
First, on a 26th-minute free kick from about 35 yards out following a foul, Kai Wagner lofted in a ball that a wide-open Przybylko was able to get his head to for the opener. Then, about five minutes later, on a Wagner corner kick, Przybylko again got a header moving goalward, which Santos, lurking close to the goalline, redirected to double the lead.
It looked as if Leon Flach made it three toward the end of the half on a corner kick goal, as he was alert to a Jack Elliott header into his path, but VAR revealed a handball as he got control of the ball, erasing what would have been his first-ever MLS goal.
The Union added to their lead in the 63rd minute, again on a set piece. This time, it was Jamiro Monteiro sending in the ball on a corner kick, and Cory Burke — who'd just been subbed on — doing most of the work. Burke headed the initial ball toward goal, ran to meet the deflection and got a foot on it, and Elliott poked it in to add to Portland's misery.
The Timbers nearly found two goals late. First, in the 77th minute, Jeremy Ebobisse got to a second ball on a corner and nearly got it past Andre Blake. Then, a minute later, Ebobisse sprung free on a breakaway, but Blake saved his shot, and Diego Valeri — looking for his 100th goal in Timbers green (or, in Sunday's case, PRIMEBLUE) — sent the rebound over the crossbar. That's as close as the Timbers got to making a bit of history – or making a dent in the scoreline.
- THE BIG PICTURE: For the Union, the interconference match between CCL contestants was everything they could have hoped for, and gives Jim Curtin and his team good feelings (as well as being second in the East) heading into a three-week break that’ll have Atlanta and Columbus at the other end of it. For the Timbers, they’ve got a staggering injury list and this was a tough cross-country test. If there’s one MLS team that needs a break right now, it’s Portland.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Though the three goals provided great moments — especially the second goal, and a Santos goal celebration that suggested a new member of the Santos family is on the way, the real moment of the match for many Union faithful nodded to the future. In the 89th minute, 17-year-old Academy graduate Paxten Aaronson (younger brother of Brenden Aaronson, the Union-to-Red Bull Salzburg success story who played for the U.S. earlier today) came off the bench to make his MLS debut.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Przybylko got the only goal the Union needed, set up the second (and might have scored on his header even if Santos hadn’t been on the end of it to make sure), and continued to be threatening throughout his time on the pitch.