Youngblood tallies late to lead Timbers U-23s to draw
PORTLAND, Ore. – Forward Ryan Youngblood scored in the final minute of the match to lead the Portland Timbers U-23s to a 1-1 draw with the Kitsap Pumas at Tualatin High School on Saturday. The late equalizer helps the Timbers U-23s remain unbeaten at home this season.
Youngblood, who came on as a sub in the second half, tallied his team-leading fifth goal of the season and defender Logan Emory logged an assist in his second straight match help the Timbers U-23s (8-3-2, 26pts) record the draw and end the Pumas’ six-game winning streak.
Midfielder Matt Friesen scored his second goal of the season against Portland and goalkeeper Dustyn Brim recorded six saves for the Pumas (10-0-3, 33pts), who maintain their top spot in the Northwest Division with the draw.
The showdown between the top two clubs in the division proved to be a physical contest as Portland and Kitsap combined for 37 fouls, including seven cautions and three ejections.
Kitsap struck first in the 30th minute on a well-placed strike from Friesen. Much like his first goal against the Timbers U-23s on June 6, Friesen lined up to take a free kick from just beyond the top of the box and struck the ball into the top far corner of the goal to give the visiting side a 1-0 lead.
Down a goal, the Timbers U-23s played a spirited second half, out-shooting the Pumas, one of four professional clubs in the Premier Development League, 10-2. But the half started with hard-working defensive play by Portland defender Josh Brown.
In the 53rd minute, Pumas forward Spencer Schomaker broke loose on a breakaway towards the box. Brown was able to chase down Schomaker from behind and strip him of the ball inside the box and end the threat to keep the Timbers U-23s within reach.
The steady momentum gained by the Timbers U-23s through the second half put them in position for a free kick inside their offensive third late in the match. From 35 yards out, Emory played the ball into the box that found the head of Youngblood on a run through to the near post. He was able to hold off his defender just enough to head the ball inside the far post to level the score at 1-1 in the 90th minute.
The physical nature of the match came to a head in second-half stoppage time as an altercation broke out following a challenge in the box between Leach and Brim. The scrum led to three ejections, including Portland’s Leach and Brown and Kitsap defender Taylor Hyde; Brim was booked with a caution.
The Timbers U-23s embark on their final road trip of the season, a two-game trip to face the Spokane Spiders on July 10 and Yakima Reds on July 11. Portland returns home for its regular-season finale on July 18 against the Abbotsford Mariners at Lincoln High School in Portland, Ore. at 7 p.m.
POR: GK Guerrero, D Leach, D Brown, D Emory, D Erskine (Flunder, 63), M Kwesele, M vanSchaik (Harms, 82), M Warner, M Crasilneck (Hasson, 70), F Lopez (Youngblood, 61), F Richards (Shergill, 65)
KIT: GK Brim, D Lipset, D Lee, D Mohn, D Hyde, M Friesen (Dieng, 63), M Kerr (Abravenel, 78), M Johnson, M Conrad (Megson, 65), F Schomaker (Sampson, 67), F Phillips (Njamen, 72)
KIT: Friesen, 30
POR: Youngblood (Logan), 90