Timbers U-23s win thriller over over Tacoma Tide

FOREST GROVE, Ore.Midfielder Jordan Crasilneck and forward Brent Richards each logged a goal and an assist, and midfielder Collen Warner scored his first of the season to lead the Portland Timbers U-23s to a 4-3 victory over the Tacoma Tide on Sunday at Lincoln Park Stadium.
 
Both Richards and Crasilneck recorded their goal and assist in the first half and Warner delivered the game-winning strike in the 73rd minute to lift the Timbers U-23s (7-2-1, 22pts) to the win and into a two-way tie with the Seattle Wolves in second place in the Premier Development League’s Northwest Division.
 
Midfielder Chase Tangney and forwards Rory Agu and Colin Rigby all scored for the Tacoma Tide (2-4-3, 9pts), who were handed their second straight loss on the road.
 
The two teams combined for six goals in the first half, as Tacoma’s Tangney opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Timbers U-23s goalkeeper Garrett Staples made a diving save off a shot by Rigby but couldn’t secure the ball, and Tangney fired home the rebound to give the visiting side a 1-0 lead.
 
Portland responded just minutes later and went on to score three unanswered goals starting with a strike by Richards in the 19th minute. Defender Miguel Guante worked the ball down the right flank and sent a through ball into the box. Richards chased down the pass and one-timed his fourth goal of the season into the ball into the net.  
 
Forward Ryan Youngblood put the Timbers U-23s ahead 2-1 in the 23rd minute off of a corner kick from Crasilneck. From the left side, Crasilneck sent the ball to the near post for Youngblood, who headed in his fourth of the season inside the top near corner.
 
In the 35th minute, Richards delivered a sharply whipped ball into the center of the box that found Crasilneck in a sea of players inside the box. Crasilneck headed in a shot from eight yards to extend the Timbers U-23s’ lead 3-1.
 
Despite Portland’s two-goal lead at the 35th minute mark, Tacoma was able to rally back, scoring twice to level the score at 3-3 before halftime. Agu trimmed the lead down to 3-2 in the 41st minute off a set piece taken by midfielder Leighton O’Brien. Rigby then evened things up in the 43rd minute, finishing a cross from midfielder Cam Vickers past Staples.
 
The physical nature of the second half slowed down the offensive rhythm for both sides as the Timbers U-23s were held to just two shots in the second period until the 73rd minute.  
 
Second-half sub Avneet Shergill connected with Warner on a pass played through the Tide defense and Warner was able to slot a shot past Tacoma goalkeeper Jordan Jennings to seal the 4-3 victory and help Portland capture the 2009 season series against the Tide.
 
The Timbers U-23s travel south to face in-state rival the Cascade Surge on Friday, June 26 at 7:05 p.m. at McCulloch Stadium in Salem, Ore. Portland returns home Sunday, June 28 to play host to the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency at 1 p.m. as part of a doubleheader at PGE Park with the Timbers first team. Tickets are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.
 
Notes: The Timbers U-23s remain unbeaten at home in 2009, with a record of 4-0-1 … Portland took 15 of its 18 total shots in the first half … Warner and Crasilneck paced the team with five shots each against Tacoma … Tacoma featured three former professional players in their lineup against the Timbers U-23s – O’Brien, Rigby and defender Adam West, who all played for the Seattle Sounders in 2008.
 
Lineups:
POR: GK Staples, D Guante, D Brown, D Leach, D Erskine (Flunder, 59), M Warner, M Mutanda Kwesele, M Lopez (Shergill, 66), M Crasilneck (Hasson, 73), F Richards (Hemmi, 53), F Youngblood (vanSchaik, 41)
 
TAC: GK Jennings, D Greg, D Scholze, D West, D Maxwell, M Vickers (Blanks, 68), M O’Brien, M Orozco, M Tangney, F Agu, F Rigby (Kilpatrick, 70)