Timbers U-23s Notebook: Brenes brace highlights U-23s performances in NCAA tournament

Fourteen U-23s players compete in first round of NCAA tournament

U-23s Reinaldo Brenes 2013

Photo Credit: 
David Blair

PORTLAND, Ore. – The NCAA men’s soccer tournament is underway, and a considerable number of players from the 2013 Portland Timbers U-23s led their respective college teams in first-round action earlier this week.

Five different teams, featuring 14 Timbers U-23s players, opened play Thursday in the tournament that culminates with the College Cup at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., on Sunday, Dec. 15.

The Akron Zips knocked off defending-champion Indiana in the first round with a 3-2 victory. Timbers U-23s forward Reinaldo Brenes scored two goals, including what provided to be the game-winning goal in the 48th minute of a hard-fought match. It was the first multi-goal game of the season for Brenes. Other Timbers U-23s players that featured in the match were defenders Saad Abdul-Salaam and Bryan Gallego and midfielder Victor Souto. The Zips move on to play No. 9 Marquette on Sunday.

The No. 17 Louisville Cardinals advanced past Denver University on penalty kicks after the two teams finished regulation locked in a scoreless draw. Timbers U-23s forward Zack Foxhoven, a second-half sub, provided a penalty-kick goal that aided in the Cardinals’ 3-2 shootout win. Louisville advances to face No. 11 Michigan State in the second round Sunday.

Timbers U-23s midfielder Alex Walters and the University of North Carolina advanced to the Round of 32 after a 1-0 victory over South Florida; the game’s lone goal came in the fourth minute of play. The Tar Heels take on No. 12 UC Irvine in the second round.

Despite strong efforts from three Timbers U-23s players, Loyola Marymount University’s (Calif.) season came to an end after falling to Stanford on penalty kicks. Timbers U-23s midfielder John McFarlin scored the opening goal for LMU in the 83rd minute, but Stanford would knot the score, 1-1, in the final minute of regulation to push the match to overtime and a shootout. Two other Timbers U-23s players put in shifts for LMU, with goalkeeper Paul Blanchette making eight saves and defender Craig Nitti providing solid play on the backline for 110 minutes.

Creighton University, with Timbers U-23s players Zach Barnes, Eric Miller and Jose Ribas, fell 2-1 to Seattle University in their first-round match on Thursday; all three players played the full 90 minutes.

Entering the tournament in the second round, Timbers U-23s midfielder Reed McKenna and his UC Santa Barbara teammates play host to Penn State on Sunday.

Here is the second-round schedule for teams with Timbers U-23s players; all games played Sunday

Louisville (Zack Foxhoven, Mitchell Lurie) at No. 11 Michigan State – 10 a.m. (Pacific)

North Carolina (Alex Walters) at No. 12 UC Irvine –2 p.m. (Pacific)

Akron (Bryan Gallego, Reinaldo Brenes, Victor Souto, Abdul Saad-Salaam) at No. 9 Marquette – 3 p.m. (Pacific)

Penn State at No. 10 UC Santa Barbara (Reed McKenna) – 6 p.m. (Pacific)