Highlanders FC hand Timbers U-23s 2-0 loss
HILLSBORO, Ore. — Playing their third game in as many days, the Portland Timbers U-23s lost 2-0 to Northwest Division-leader Victoria Highlanders FC on Sunday afternoon in a matchup between the division’s top two teams before 1,054 fans at Hare Field.
With the victory, Highlanders FC (8-2-1, 26pts) extended their lead in the standings to six points. The Timbers U-23s (6-3-2, 20pts) remain in second place and own just a three-point lead over third-place Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23.
The Timbers U-23s were handed a second straight loss in league play, after falling 3-2 to the Washington Crossfire on Friday. Portland also played the Martinique National Team in a friendly on Saturday.
Despite the Timbers U-23s’ 15-6 advantage in shots, Highlanders FC played the majority of the match with a 1-0 lead, finding the opening goal on the second effort following a corner kick in the 18th minute. Victoria then added an insurance goal three minutes from full time to help extend its unbeaten streak to six games.
Highlanders FC’s first goal came following a corner kick from the right side in the 18th minute. The ball deflected out to forward Jordan Hughes at the upper left corner of the box. Hughes then sent a cross into a crowd in front of the goal, where forward Blair Sturrock fielded the ball after a couple of ricochets and punched it in for his second goal of the season.
After the goal, forward Zack Foxhoven gave the Timbers U-23s a couple of chances for an equalizer before the end of the first half. In the 34th minute, Foxhoven put a hard shot on frame after winning the ball from a couple of defenders, but Victoria goalkeeper Elliott Mitrou made the save. In the first minute of first-half stoppage time, Foxhoven beat a couple Victoria defenders on the left flank before serving a cross into the box for forward Clark Phillips, who put another shot on frame for the Timbers U-23s.
Phillips also set up midfielder Jose Ribas for an opportunity in the 15th minute. Phillips flicked on a long ball from goalkeeper David Meves, sending Ribas in one-on-one with Mitrou, but Ribas’ shot missed just wide.
The Timbers U-23s kept the pressure up in the second half, outshooting Victoria 6-3 in the half, but Victoria’s Brett Levis would put the visitors on top 2-0 in the 87th minute. Levis dribbled through the Timbers U-23s defense, forcing Meves to come off his line, and was able to slip a shot into the back of the net from six yards out.
After playing eight games during the month of June, the Timbers U-23s have a break in league play. The team will take a two-game road trip to British Columbia for their next two matches, starting Friday, July 12 against Whitecaps FC U-23 at Thunderbird Stadium. Portland will then play Victoria on Saturday, July 13 at Royal Athletic Park.
VIC: Sturrock (J. Hughes), 18
VIC: Levis, 87
VIC: Ashlee (Caution), 72
VIC: Levis (Caution), 84
POR: Daus (Caution), 86
POR: GK David Meves, D Craig Nitti (Jackson McCracken, 89), D Mitch Lurie (JJ Greer, 70), D Saad Abdul-Salaam, D Bryan Gallego, M Will Vitalis (Reed McKenna, 55), M Victor Souto (John McFarlin, 61), M Zach Barnes, F Clark Phillips, F Zack Foxhoven (Mark Daus, 64), F Jose Ribas (Evyn Hewett, 68)
Subs not used: GK Blake Hylen
VIC: GK Elliott Mitrou, D Andrew Ravenhill, D Tyler Hughes, D Ryan Ashlee, D Gavin Barrett, M Riley O’Neill, M Brett Levis (Adam Ravenhill, 89), M Gareth Langdon, F Craig Gorman (Sam Prette, 57), F Blair Sturrock (Cameron Stokes, 79), F Jordan Hughes (Jermele Campbell, 65)
Subs not used: GK Joel Wilson, D Kalem Scott, M Sahil Sandhu