Call it "Scoreless Saturday".
Major League Soccer's weekend slate featured a bunch of nil-nil draws, one of which played out at PPL Park on Saturday night.
Philadelphia and Portland battled to a 0-0 scoreline, both teams settling for a point after two full halves and a 53-minute lightning delay.
"Look, they're a good team, we prepared for them well," said assistant coach Rob Vartughian, who manned the sidelines in place of suspended manager John Hackworth. "I think the only loop we were thrown for was (Frederic) Piquionne and (Ryan) Johnson starting (together). But we expected them to press us. I think the heat was difficult for both teams."
The Union conceded possession to Portland by a 59-to-41 percent margin.
But Philadelphia's 4-4-2 accounted for 17 attempts on goal, while the Timbers had 13 looks in a forward-trending 4-3-3.
"They're a very mobile group with interchanging parts and they're difficult to play against," Vartughian explained. "That being said, I thought we did a pretty good job tonight. Defensively we were good throughout the whole night. The first half we chased the game a little bit more than we would have liked to and didn't get ahold of the ball and connect passes to keep it."
Portland outpassed Philadelphia 386 to 252.
Coincidentally, the teams have now played to scoreless draws in two all-time matches at PPL Park. The Union has scored just 1 goal in 360 minutes of play against the Timbers.
"Obviously we felt like we could have got three points, but we don't want to lose," said Union left back Ray Gaddis. "We know how tight the Eastern Conference is and a point going forward is still good for us. But we always want three points. That's the goal, to win."
Philadelphia improved to a 8-6-7 record with 31 total points.
Portland moves to 8-2-10 with San Jose up next on the schedule.
"Credit to them, they're a good team," winger Danny Cruz told reporters. "But I felt like we had a majority of the good chances. They had one real good (chance) there in the second half. Overall I think we're happy with that performance. We obviously wanted three points but we just played a team that's only got two losses and we came out feeling like we were a pretty good team against them."
Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at firstname.lastname@example.org