The Portland Timbers moved into the MLS is Back Tournament final with a 2-1 win over Philadelphia Union on Wednesday.

Jeremy Ebobisse and Sebastian Blanco scored for the Timbers in their semi-final victory at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Andrew Wooten pulled a goal back for Philadelphia, but Portland advanced into the decider, in which they will face either Orlando City or Minnesota United.

The opener came for Portland in the 13th minute through Ebobisse's fourth goal of the tournament.

Ebobisse got on the end of a Diego Valeri corner to head in and make it 1-0.

Philadelphia squandered a great chance to equalise on the stroke of half-time as Sergio Santos put a penalty over the crossbar.

Instead, another corner saw Portland double their lead, Blanco heading in from close range after Dario Zuparic got on the end of a Valeri set-piece with 20 minutes remaining.

Blanco has enjoyed a fine tournament, scoring three goals and providing five assists.

Wooten scored in the 85th minute for Philadelphia, but they were unable to find an equaliser.

Philadelphia Union booked their spot in the MLS is Back Tournament semi-finals with an entertaining 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City.

Sergio Santos' brace helped Philadelphia to their victory at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida on Thursday.

Jamiro opened the scoring for the Union, tapping in an Alejandro Bedoya cross in the 24th minute.

But in a fast finish to the first half, there were another three goals scored before the break.

Santos finished in a one-on-one before putting away a wonderful pass from Brenden Aaronson to make it 3-0.

Alan Pulido's header from a Johnny Russell cross in first-half additional time gave Sporting hope, but they were unable to complete a comeback after the break.

Philadelphia will face either New York City or Portland Timbers in the semi-finals.

Orlando City edged Thierry Henry's Montreal Impact 1-0 en route to the MLS is Back Tournament quarter-finals, while Philadelphia Union also advanced to the last eight.

Tesho Akindele proved the difference for Orlando, with his 60th-minute goal seeing off Montreal in the first knockout fixture in Florida on Saturday.

Following a goalless first half, Akindele pounced on a defensive error on the hour mark – converting an easy tap-in after Clement Diop was unable to deal with Rod Fanni's back pass at Walt Disney Resort.

Nani's Orlando will face either Seattle Sounders or reigning Supporters' Shield champions Los Angeles FC in the quarter-finals.

In Saturday's other last-16 clash, Philadelphia defeated New England Revolution 1-0.

Sergio Santos' 63rd-minute effort saw the Union past Bruce Arena's Revolution.

Santos ran onto a lofted pass from Union team-mate Jamiro Monteiro and finished from an acute angle to send the Union through to the next round.

Next up for Philadelphia are either Sporting Kansas City or Vancouver Whitecaps.

Orlando City clinched top spot in Group A of the MLS is Back Tournament courtesy of their 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union.

Monday's draw was enough for Orlando to win the group ahead of Philadelphia due to their superior goal difference after both teams finished on seven points from three matches.

Ilsinho came off the bench to put the Union ahead in the 68th minute at Walt Disney Resort in Florida, where his effort from a difficult angle broke the deadlock.

But Orlando hit back just two minutes later through Mauricio Pereyra after he got on the end of Nani's cross.

New York City had defeated Inter Miami 1-0 earlier in the day to eliminate David Beckham's expansion franchise in Group A.

Inter Miami are yet to win a match since entering the league at the start of the 2020 season.

Inter Miami slumped to another defeat at the MLS is Back Tournament, while Chris Mueller lifted Orlando City on Tuesday.

In their maiden season in MLS, Inter Miami are yet to grab a point after a 2-1 loss to Philadelphia Union in Group A in Florida.

Kai Wagner opened the scoring for Philadelphia in the fifth minute with a low strike from just outside the area.

But Inter Miami levelled before half-time through Rodolfo Pizarro, who capped off a fine team move to make it 1-1.

Kacper Przybylko found what proved to be the winner just after the hour-mark, finishing off a blistering counter-attack with a fine strike into the bottom corner.

Making matters worse for Inter Miami as they slumped to a fourth straight loss, defender Andres Reyes was sent off deep into additional time.

Philadelphia have booked their spot in the last 16 from Group A, and Orlando City did likewise after a 3-1 win over New York City.

Mueller produced a wonderful fourth-minute finish to open the scoring before doubling the lead six minutes later.

Jesus Medina's brilliant half-volley from 20 yards brought New York City back into the game, but Tesho Akindele sealed Orlando's win with a close-range header.

Alejandro Bedoya gave Philadelphia Union a 1-0 victory over New York City in their MLS is Back Tournament opener on Thursday.

The Union players had the names of black victims of police brutality on their shirts instead of their own, and captain Bedoya earned the team three points in the Group A clash.

The outcome left City without a win in three games overall this season, including two MLS games played in March, making it their worst start to a campaign.

The match kicked off at 09:00 local time (13:00 GMT) at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida to avoid the afternoon heat and potential thunderstorms.

After a dull first half without any dangerous openings, former United States international Bedoya got the better of Sean Johnson from the right side of the box in the 63rd minute after City failed to clear his initial cross.

Union's Kacper Przybylko had a goal correctly ruled out for offside four minutes later as the game finally came to life.

Andre Blake produced a fine save to prevent City striker Heber's effort from eight yards finding the bottom-right corner, before racing off his line to deny Gary Mackay-Steven when one-on-one in stoppage time.

City's wait for a first goal of 2020 consequently continued, while the Union secured their first clean sheet after conceding five across their two fixtures before the season's suspension in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant is the latest sports star to invest in a Major League Soccer team.

The 10-time NBA All-Star has acquired a five per cent ownership stake in Philadelphia Union, with an option to purchase an additional five per cent in the near future.

''I've always been a soccer fan and have wanted to get into it in a meaningful way. My team and I felt an instant connection with the Philadelphia Union ownership and staff and their vision for a partnership,'' Durant said in a statement on Monday.

''While you won't get to see me at games for now, my team and I will be taking an active role in the community, where I can help give back to Chester [Pennsylvania] and Philadelphia.''

Durant is the second former NBA MVP to invest in an MLS team, with the Houston Rockets' James Harden owning a stake in Houston Dynamo. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson also owns a stake in Seattle Sounders.

The MLS season, which has been on pause since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, is set to restart on July 8 with a 26-team tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida.

The NBA season is also slated to resume at Disney World at the end of July.

Durant, however, has said he will not play when the season resumes as he continues his recovery from the Achilles tendon tear he sustained with the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

 

MLS will resume play at Disney World Resort in Orlando on July 8, and a pair of Florida teams have the honour of kicking off the tournament with Orlando City facing Inter Miami.

A day after the MLS is Back Tournament was announced, the league held a draw for the group stage on Thursday, placing the 26 teams into six groups.

Sixteen teams will then progress to the knockout stage, which will begin on July 25 ahead of an August 11 final.

Aside from the opening match, the rest of the tournament schedule has yet to be announced.

 

The groups for the MLS is Back Tournament:

Group A (Eastern Conference): Orlando City, Inter Miami, New York City, Philadelphia Union, Chicago Fire, Nashville SC.
Group B (Western Conference): Seattle Sounders, Dallas, Vancouver Whitecaps, San Jose Earthquakes.
Group C (Eastern Conference): Toronto, New England Revolution, Montreal Impact, DC United.
Group D (Western Conference): Real Salt Lake, Sporting Kansas City, Colorado Rapids, Minnesota United.
Group E (Eastern Conference): Atlanta United, FC Cincinnati, New York Red Bulls, Columbus Crew.
Group F (Western Conference): Los Angeles FC, LA Galaxy, Houston Dynamo, Portland Timbers.

A Philadelphia Union player has tested positive for coronavirus, the MLS club announced on Wednesday.

The unnamed player experienced mild symptoms and is feeling fine.

The MLS season was suspended last month due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to more than 47,200 deaths worldwide.

"Philadelphia Union today announced that a Union player has tested positive for the novel coronavirus [COVID-19]," the team said in a statement.

"The Union medical staff has been working directly with Crozer-Keystone Health System medical officials to treat the player who experienced mild symptoms and is feeling well and in good spirits.

"The player is observing appropriate isolation protocols. No other cases or symptoms within Philadelphia Union soccer operations have been identified at this time.

"No Philadelphia Union players or technical staff have trained or been at the Power Training Complex facility or Subaru Park since Thursday, March 12.

"Based upon guidance from Crozer-Keystone Health System medical officials, infectious disease specialists and Major League Soccer health officials, this case does not present a risk to our fans, our most recent opponent, LAFC, or any of the other Union players, staff, or personnel and Union players and personnel do not need to be tested as the team is outside of the 14-day window where anyone with team related interactions with the player would have reported symptoms."

Philadelphia were winless through two games when the MLS season was stopped, collecting one point.

Los Angeles FC came from behind three times to draw in MLS on Sunday, while the Portland Timbers claimed a narrow win.

Carlos Vela scored again but Los Angeles were forced to fight back three times to draw 3-3 with Philadelphia Union at the Banc of California Stadium.

Sergio Santos' 25-yard stunner put Philadelphia ahead before Vela curled a wonderful free-kick into the top corner.

Vela became the third quickest player to score 50 goals in MLS history, reaching the milestone in 61 games.

Jakob Glesnes' spectacular 40-yard free-kick restored Philadelphia's lead early in the second half, only for Diego Rossi to curl in a fine equaliser for Los Angeles.

After Brenden Aaronson again put the visitors ahead, Eddie Segura earned his side a point with a 71st-minute equaliser.

Los Angeles moved onto four points from their opening two games, while the draw got Philadelphia off the mark.

The Timbers handed Nashville SC a second straight loss with a 1-0 victory.

Diego Valeri's excellent first-half volley saw the Timbers claim their first win of the MLS season.

Thierry Henry made a winning start as Montreal Impact coach in MLS, while Javier Hernandez's LA Galaxy debut ended in a draw on Saturday.

At the helm of Montreal, Henry's Impact came from behind to beat the New England Revolution 2-1 on the opening day of the MLS season.

The Arsenal great's side had fallen behind after just 13 minutes at Stade Olympique, where Teal Bunbury volleyed in a Cristian Penilla cross.

However, Romell Quioto headed in from close range to bring Montreal level just eight minutes before half-time.

And the hosts found an 80th-minute winner as Maximiliano Urruti spectacularly lobbed stranded New England goalkeeper Matt Turner.

Hernandez made his LA Galaxy debut in a 1-1 draw away to the Houston Dynamo.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward played 90 minutes as Houston came from behind, Mauro Manotas cancelling out Cristian Pavon's opener.

Atlanta United spoiled Nashville SC's first MLS game with a 2-1 victory at Nissan Stadium.

Walker Zimmerman scored Nashville's first goal to cancel out Ezequiel Barco's opener, but Emerson Hyndman's 37th-minute strike proved to be the winner in front of a crowd of 59,069.

Elsewhere, Oswaldo Alanis' brilliant 95th-minute free-kick helped the San Jose Earthquakes hold Toronto to a 2-2 draw.

The Colorado Rapids recorded a 2-1 win over DC United, Dallas beat Philadelphia Union 2-0, Orlando City and Real Salt Lake played out a 0-0 draw and Sporting Kansas City overcame the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz shot-stopper and captain Andre Blake insists he is looking forward to what is expected to be a big year for both his club and national teams.

The 29-year-old goalkeeper made the MLS All-Star roster in 2016 and again in 2019.  By the numbers, however, Blake had a less than impressive season between the sticks.  The Union gave up 57 goals last year in all competitions. 

Blake didn’t have a clean sheet in the team’s last 13 games of the season and only had six for the team all year.  His goals-against average rose from 1.5 in 2018 (57 goals allowed in 38 games) to 1.64 in 2019 (46 in 28).

With the Union, however, a part of the Jamaican's struggles might have to do with a tweak in the team’s gameplay, which is expected to adjust this season particularly with the addition of new personnel.

Internationally the player’s national team has made the CONCACAF Hexagonal round for the first time since the 2014 cycle and could be in line for a second appearance at the FIFA World Cup.  The Reggae Boyz finished runners-up on two occasions and then semi-finalists in the last three editions of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“There’s a lot of soccer to play for club and country, there’s going to be a lot on the line,” Blake told the Inquirer

“I have to make sure I do everything to be ready, to stay sharp, to stay fit. I’m definitely looking forward to a big year, to do whatever it takes in the net when I’m with club and country to be successful and to help my team be successful,” he added.

 

Los Angeles FC finally beat rivals LA Galaxy 5-3 in a wild Western Conference semi-final that could have been Zlatan Ibrahimovic's last game in MLS.

Ibrahimovic is out of contract at the end of the season and the former AC Milan, Inter and Juventus striker has been linked with a January return to Serie A via Napoli, Bologna and the Nerazzurri.

Amid the uncertainty over his future, Ibrahimovic was unable to prolong the Galaxy's season as LAFC prevailed in an eight-goal thriller to advance to the Conference final on Thursday.

Supporters' Shield winners LAFC had never beaten the Galaxy in five previous fixtures but they quickly moved to end that drought thanks to Carlos Vela's first-half brace at Banc of California Stadium.

LAFC captain Vela broke the deadlock in the El Trafico derby, cutting inside onto his right foot and firing a low shot past Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham in the 16th minute.

Vela doubled the lead in the 40th minute, when he was on hand to side-foot into an empty net after Brian Rodriguez's selfless pass, before Ibrahimovic teed up Cristian Pavon a minute later.

Ibrahimovic put the visiting Galaxy on level terms 10 minutes into the second half but their joy quickly turned to despair as quick-fire goals from Diego Rossi and Adama Diomande restored LAFC's two-goal advantage with 22 minutes remaining.

Rolf Feltscher set up a frenetic finale by reducing the deficit to 4-3 in the 77th minute, however Diomande's stunning solo effort ended the Galaxy's hopes within three minutes.

Bob Bradley's LAFC will now meet Seattle Sounders for a spot in the MLS Cup final.

In the day's other match, defending champions Atlanta United accounted for Philadelphia Union 2-0.

Julian Gressel and Josef Martinez saw Frank de Boer's Atlanta advance and earn an Eastern Conference final date with Toronto.

LA Galaxy set up a blockbuster El Trafico derby showdown with rivals Los Angeles FC in the MLS Western Conference semi-finals after edging Minnesota United 2-1.

Second-half goals from Sebastian Lletget and Jonathan dos Santos saw the Galaxy past hosts Minnesota in the first round of the play-offs on Sunday.

After a scoreless first half at Allianz Field, Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Galaxy broke the deadlock via Lletget – who bounced on a deflected shot by the former Manchester United striker with 19 minutes remaining.

Dos Santos doubled the lead four minutes later with a curling effort beyond Minnesota goalkeeper and ex-Arsenal shot-stopper Vito Mannone.

Jan Gregus scored a late goal for Minnesota, but the Galaxy were not to be denied as they look ahead to a mouth-watering clash against Supporters' Shield champions LAFC.

In Sunday's other play-off match, Philadelphia Union prevailed 4-3 against New York Red Bulls after extra time in an historic victory.

The Union overcame the Red Bulls in a thriller for their first play-off victory, having lost their four previous post-season matches.

Philadelphia trailed 2-0 and 3-1 but rallied on both occasions to force extra time as Marco Fabian's 106th-minute goal sent the Union through to the next round.

Next up for the Union are defending champions Atlanta United in the Eastern Conference semis.

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