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Union rest starters ahead of U.S. Open Cup semifinal, pay the price against Portland Timbers

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Union rest starters ahead of U.S. Open Cup semifinal, pay the price against Portland Timbers

BOX SCORE 

PORTLAND, Ore. — Diego Valeri and Dairon Asprilla each scored on a penalty kick, and the Portland Timbers extended their unbeaten streak to 15 games with a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.

Portland improved to 10-0-5 since its last loss on April 8 at Orlando. The undefeated run matches the club's MLS record of 15 games set in 2013.

Philadelphia rested many of its starters — including captain Alejandro Bedoya — in anticipation of Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup semifinal.

David Guzman also scored for the Timbers on a header in the 87th minute.

Valeri's penalty came after Philadelphia's Fabinho pulled down Alvas Powell in the 58th minute. Warren Creavalle tripped Valeri in the box for Asprilla's PK in the 84th minute.

It was Portland's first match without Fanendo Adi, who signed with FC Cincinnati this week. Adi, who had been with the Timbers since 2014, scored a late goal that gave Portland a 2-1 victory over Houston last weekend.

FC Cincinnati, currently with the lower-tier USL, will join Major League Soccer as an expansion team next season.

The Timbers were without Sebastian Blanco because of yellow card accumulation. Samuel Armenteros, who was listed as questionable with a sore back, started for Portland.

Bedoya was listed as a sub for the match but entered in the 66th minute after Valeri's goal.

Philadelphia hosts the Chicago Fire in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. Other regular starters who were subs for the game included Hari Mendunjanin, Raymon Gaddis and David Accam. Coach Jim Curtin started forward C.J. Sapong and defender Keegan Rosenberry.

The match was scoreless after the first half. Portland's best chance appeared to be a shot by Andy Polo that sailed just over the goal in the 34th minute. Just before that, Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella lunged to grab Sapong's left-footed shot toward the far post.

Sapong had another opportunity in the opening minute of the second half but Attinella came away with another save.

Philadelphia Union's new stadium name is a huge upgrade

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Philadelphia Union's new stadium name is a huge upgrade

The Philadelphia Union announced Tuesday a multi-year partnership with Subaru of America, which means Talen Energy Stadium in Chester is now Subaru Park.

I cannot emphasize this enough: what a huge improvement.

Talen Energy Stadium wasn't a miserable name, but it wasn't... good. The sponsor name itself was pretty clunky, and "stadium" is probably my least-favorite designator for a sports arena. Field, park, center (or centre) are all better than "stadium" or "arena", and it's not close.

By switching back from "stadium" to "park", an homage to the original PPL Park name, the Union's home pitch sounds so much more fun. "Let's head to the park for the game" is very inviting. "What a time we'll have down at the park!"

It's good.

Also, "Subaru Park" lends itself to the time-honored tradition of shortening sports arena names. Eagles fans once did it with The Vet and now do it with The Linc; Phillies fans do it with The Bank; Sixers and Flyers fans can either use The Center or The Farg.

Talen Energy Stadium offered no such opportunities, but Subaru Park does. You can call it The Roo, or you can call it The Soob. Both are short, concise, self-contained. Either way, it's fun and good and gives the park an identity.

Between the new field name and the Union's new home kits, 2020 is shaping up to be a very enjoyable season for Philadelphia's soccer fans.

These goals by Union's 12-year-old squad in Brazil will wow you

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These goals by Union's 12-year-old squad in Brazil will wow you

"Nobody cares about soccer in Philadelphia," they said.

"But what if it was 12-year-olds who were playing and scoring sick goals in Brazil?" I responded.

The Philadelphia Union shared some sweet highlights of their U12 Academy team showing off their rather impressive skill in a number of tournaments in Brazil to kick off the new year.

According to the Union's website, the U12 team went on a scoring tear, putting up 22 combined goals in two games against Portuguesa PFF and Oeste Barueri while allowing only 2.

They combined a number of those goals into the concise highlight tweet below. The skill on display is obvious and impressive.

For those who may be unfamiliar with soccer's "Academy" training model, it's a program set up to help develop homegrown talent into stars of tomorrow. You can learn more about it here.

Two more Union U12 tournament games are tentatively scheduled to be broadcast live on the Union's website on Friday morning free of charge if that's your cup of tea.