Timbers U-23s face two-game road trip against Vancouver, Victoria

Team hits the road for final time this season in reach of playoff berth

U-23s McKenna Victoria June 30 2013

Photo Credit: 
David Blair/Portland Timbers

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers U-23s head north to British Columbia for their final road games of the Premier Development League regular season this weekend. The team faces back-to-back games against Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 on Friday at UBC Thunderbird Stadium at 7 p.m. (Pacific) and Victoria Highlanders FC on Saturday at Royal Athletic Park at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific).

The Timbers U-23s enter the weekend eight points behind first-place Victoria in the Northwest Division. Victoria leads the division at 8-1-4 (28pts), while the Timbers U-23s sit in second at 6-3-2 (20pts). With three games remaining, the Timbers U-23s can clinch a playoff spot with at least one point this weekend, as the top three teams in the Northwest Division qualify for the postseason.

The Timbers U-23s have not played a match since losing to Highlanders FC, 2-0, at Hare Field in Hillsboro, Ore., on June 30. The Timbers U-23s outshot Victoria 15-6 in that match, but fell behind early on a goal from Victoria forward Blair Sturrock in the 18th minute and gave up a second goal in the 87th minute to midfielder Brett Levis.

Having allowed just nine goals this season, the Timbers U-23s rank second among leaders in the PDL’s Western Conference in fewest goals allowed. Of the nine goals conceded, only four have come on the road, giving Portland the third-lowest total of road goals allowed in the entire PDL. Additionally, goalkeeper David Meves ranks tied for the PDL lead with six shutouts and ranks third in the league with a 0.82 goals against average.

Friday’s game against Whitecaps FC U-23 will be the second meeting between the teams this season. The Timbers U-23s beat Whitecaps FC U-23 previously, 2-0, at JELD-WEN Field on May 23. Midfielder Eric Miller recorded a goal and an assist for the Timbers U-23s in the game, with forward Reinaldo Brenes scoring the other goal for the team.

Whitecaps FC U-23 also enters Friday’s game after a break from competitive play. Whitecaps FC U-23, currently in third in the Northwest Division at 5-4-2 (17pts), have not played since tying Victoria 1-1 at home June 28. Vancouver has scored 24 goals this season, third-most in the Western Conference.

Victoria enters Saturday’s game on an eight-game unbeaten streak. Highlanders FC lead the Western Conference with 30 goals scored this season, a total that also ranks the team tied for third in the entire PDL. Levis and forward Jordan Hughes lead Victoria’s attack each with nine goals scored. Levis ranks fourth among PDL scoring leaders with 23 points (9 goals, 5 assists) this season.

Timbers U-23s to play friendly against Eugene’s Lane United FC
The Timbers U-23s will head to Eugene, Ore., on Thursday, July 18, for a friendly match against start-up club, Lane United FC at South Eugene High School; kickoff is 7:30 p.m. (Pacific).

Tickets, priced at $8 for adults and $5 for kids, will be available for purchase at the gate. For more on Lane United FC, visit www.laneunitedfc.org.