Richards, Lopez guide Timbers U-23s to victory

VANCOUVER, Wash. - Forwards Brent Richards and Frankie Lopez each scored in the first half and subs Ryan Youngblood and Roberto Farfan both tallied in the second to lead the Portland Timbers U-23s to a 4-2 victory over the Cascade Surge at Kiggins Bowl Stadium on Saturday.

Richards’ third goal of the season ignited the Timbers U-23s scoring early and Lopez scored his first goal of the season off a missed Cascade clearance to give Portland a 2-1 lead at halftime. The Surge leveled the score at 2-2 early in the second half, but strikes from Youngblood and Farfan in the final six minutes of the match lifted the Timbers U-23s (4-1-1, 13pts) to their fourth victory of the season.

Cascade Surge forward Aaron Patrick scored his second goal of the season and midfielder Grant Knight scored his first goal for the Surge (2-3-0, 6pts), who suffered their third loss of the season.

The Timbers U-23s’ first goal came in the 12th minute when midfielder Kipp Esrkine penetrated down the right flank to the end line and slotted the ball back to Richards who finished into the lower right corner.

Cascade equalized five minutes later when Patrick dribbled through the midfield uncontested and then ripped a shot from 25 yards out that bent into the upper left corner of the Portland goal.

Portland and Cascade continued to create scoring chances throughout the first half, until Lopez broke the stalemate in the 37th minute. Lopez collected a deflected ball and then broke through the Surge defense, beating out Surge goalkeeper Steve Reese, who played for the Timbers first-team from 2007-08, to push the Timbers U-23s to a 2-1 lead.

Cascade rallied back early in the second half to tie the game at 2-2 with a penalty kick goal in the 53rd minute. Portland defender Josh Brown took down forward Aaron Patrick in the box, setting up an attempt from the spot for Knight. He stepped up and buried his shot past Timbers U-23s goalkeeper Garrett Staples.

Youngblood and Farfan were sparks off the bench. Youngblood provided the go-ahead goal for the Timbers U-23s in the 84th minute after a scramble in the box. Youngblood fought his way to get to the ball and finished it into the Surge’s net giving Portland a 3-2 edge.

The Timbers U-23s managed to sneak another goal in on the night when Farfan, who entered the game in the 89thminute, scored less than two minutes later off of a corner kick from midfielder Jarad vanSchaik. Farfan, alone on the back side, headed in vanSchaik’s corner into the side netting inside the right post to seal the Timbers U-23s’ 4-2 victory.

Portland goalkeepers Austin Guerrero and Staples each played a half and faced a combined 10 shots on the night. Staples recorded the only save of the match. With Saturday’s win the Timbers U-23s remain unbeaten at home with record of 3-0-1.

Next, the Timbers U-23s face the Victoria Highlanders for the second time this season on Friday, June 5, at 7 p.m. at City Center Stadium in Burnaby B.C. Portland then returns home on Sunday, June 21, to take on the Tacoma Tide at 3 p.m. at Lincoln Park Stadium in Forest Grove, Ore.

POR: GK Guerrero (Staples, 45), D Hemmi (Thomas, 86), D Leach, D Brown, D Emory, M vanSchaik, M Erskind, M Hasson (Flunder, 53), M Crasilneck (Avneet, 45), F Richards (Youngblood, 60), F Lopez (Farfan, 87)

CAS: GK Reese, D Smerke, D Woodward, D Burt, D Milroy, M Andre (Marquez, 73), M Knight, M Harris, M Patrick (Hafeni, 64), F Chang (Rodriquez, 39), F Woodward