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MLS Is Back Semifinal Preview: Philadelphia Union
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The MLS is Back Tournament is drawing to a close as semifinals kick off this week. The Philadelphia Union will take on the Portland Timbers in the first of two semifinals to determine a place in the final against either Orlando or Minnesota. The Union’s young core has impressed in the bubble, while the Timbers have bounced back from a disappointing 2019 season. Portland holds the series advantage over Philadelphia, with six wins and 18 goals. Make sure you are up to date on all the action, schedule, and fixtures for the tournament. Here’s how you can watch the match and what to know:

Match information

  • Date: Wednesday, August 5
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • TV: FS1, TUDN
  • Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
  • Odds: Philadelphia +170; Draw +260; Portland +150 (via William Hill Sportsbook) 

Storylines

Philadelphia Union: The pressure is off the team’s young core as they have impressed with academy stars Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie. Philadelphia could be peaking with their more experienced players in Sergio Santos and Alejandro Bedoya. The Union are entering their semifinal off an 3-1 victory against Kansas City, where they recorded three goals in 15 minutes during the first half. The team will likely want to build on their momentum, but could have difficulty with an experience side in Portland who came from behind on an early goal in their quarterfinal. 

Portland Timbers: The Timbers have had an impressive tournament to date, going unbeaten in the group stage, and winning their quarterfinal against NYCFC 3-1 after going down in the 27th minute on a penalty kick. The comeback was spearheaded by Sebastian Blanco with the equalizer, with veteran Diego Valeri coming off the bench in the second half to put Portland ahead. The Timbers will be facing off against a Philadelphia team coming off an equally entertaining quarterfinal, and will likely want to set the tone of the match early in order to dictate the flow. 

Prediction

Experience could come into play for this one for Portland, along with their young talent peaking when it counts in a tournament. Pick: Portland 2, Philadelphia 1

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