MLS is Back semifinals set: Portland, Minnesota prevail (video)

MLS is Back
Getty Images
0 Comments

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) Diego Valeri and Andy Polo came on in the second half to score key goals as the Portland Timbers defeated New York City FC 3-1 on Saturday night in the final quarterfinal match of the MLS is Back tournament.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage

Sebastian Blanco also scored for the Timbers, who will face the Philadelphia Union in a Wednesday semifinal. The winner will face Minnesota United or Orlando City in the championship game on Aug. 11.

Jesus Medina had NYCFC’s lone goal on a penalty kick in the first half.

[ MORE: MLS is Back schedule ]

Valeri didn’t start for the second time in five tournament games. The midfielder came on at the beginning of the second half and put the Timbers in the lead in the 65th minute when he split two NYCFC defenders off a pass by Jaroslaw Niezgoda and drilled a right footer that beat goalkeeper Sean Johnson for his second game-winning goal of the tournament.

Polo scored in the 76th minute, shortly after he entered the game. The midfielder lofted a beautiful shot from just outside the box that found its way into the top far corner.

NYCFC scored first in the 27th minute on Medina’s penalty kick after Portland’s Larrys Mabiala fouled Medina inside the box. The Timbers evened it 16 minutes later when Blanco intercepted a clearing pass and curled a shot into the net. NYCFC had a 10-9 advantage in shots. Johnson and Steve Clark each had two saves.


As for the other quarterfinal on Saturday, Robin Lod had a goal and an assist, Hassani Dotson had two assists and Minnesota United advanced in the MLS is Back tournament with a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.

Lod and Jacori Hayes scored first-half goals 90 seconds apart to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead at halftime. Magnus Eriksson helped the Earthquakes get within a goal early in the second half on a penalty kick before Minnesota’s Luis Amarilla and Marlon Hairston scored to put it out of reach.

Minnesota United will face Orlando in Thursday’s semifinal, with the winner advancing to the championship game on Aug. 11.

Lod put Minnesota United on the board in the 20th minute when he had an open shot after San Jose goalkeeper Daniel Vega was caught out of position. Hayes quickly put the Loons up by two in the 21st minute when he put in a rebound after Vega deflected Hassani Dotson’s shot.

San Jose was awarded a penalty kick after a video review when it was determined that Hayes committed a hand ball inside the box. Eriksson converted on the penalty with his third goal of the tournament in the 50th minute.

Amarilla put Minnesota back up by two six minutes later with a left-footed finish just past the near post. Hairston closed the scoring in the 86th minute after getting a crossing pass from Dotson.

Minnesota United has won four straight against San Jose, outscoring them 15-4.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sport