PORTLAND, Ore. – A goal by midfielder Eric Miller and forward Zack Foxhoven in each half helped guide the Portland Timbers U-23s to a 2-0 win against division-rival Sounders FC U-23 before 3,681 fans on a Providence Health & Fitness Day on Thursday afternoon at JELD-WEN Field.
After trading a few early chances, the Timbers U-23s opened the scoring on Miller’s goal in the 25th minute. Portland added a second goal 15 minutes into the second half as Foxhoven took advantage of a free ball in the box. Backed by five saves from goalkeeper David Meves, the Timbers U-23s held firm against the Sounders FC U-23 attack to secure the shut-out victory in their 2013 Premier Development League season opener.
Miller and Foxhoven scored their first goals of the season in league play, forward Mark Sherrod and midfielder Gabriel Conelian each registered assists as the Timbers U-23s (1-0-0, 3pts) earned their first win over the Sounders FC U-23 (0-1-0, 0pts).
In the 25th minute, Miller received a pass from Conelian and then worked the ball into open space near the top left corner of the box. Miller drove a shot into the top far corner of the goal for his first tally of the season.
Portland doubled its lead, 2-0, in the 65th minute on a play off a set piece. A free kick into the penalty area was headed on by Sherrod near the right post and the ball deflected down in front of goal. Foxhoven worked into position to knock the ball into the back of an open net as Seattle defenders attempted to track back towards goal.
Meves made three saves in the first half to help keep Sounders FC U-23 at bay, including a diving save in the 28th minute on a shot from distance by forward David Geno, who scored four goals for Sounders FC U-23 in their U.S. Open Cup match on Tuesday. Meves turned in another key save in the 54th minute, pushing high a shot by defender Michael Uyehara from roughly 20 yards out with a diving effort.
Sounders FC U-23 had chances in the second half to cut into the deficit. Midfielder Adbul Aman lifted a shot from inside 10 yards over the crossbar in the 70th minute – one of his team-high three shots. Eight minutes later, midfielder Miles Byass drove a shot from just beyond the top right corner of the penalty area over the mark.
Timbers U-23s defender Bryan Gallego denied a scoring chance for Seattle in the 88th minute, heading a shot by Sounders FC U-23 defender Josh Phillips off the goal line. Gallego also made a timely tackle inside the penalty area in the first half to prevent a quality look for Aman in the 17th minute.
The Timbers U-23s close out their first week of the regular season on Saturday as they visit North Sound SeaWolves FC at Edmonds-Woodway High School at 1 p.m. (Pacific).
Notes: The Timbers U-23s opened their fifth season in the Premier Development League on Thursday … The Timbers U-23s recorded their first win over the Sounders FC U-23 and are now 1-2-0 in the all-time series between the two teams. Seattle won both closely contested matchups in 2012 … Thursday’s match was the first of three Providence Health & Fitness Days for the Timbers U-23s at JELD-WEN Field this season; the others will take place Thursday, May 23, and Friday, May 31 … The Timbers U-23s improve to 15-4-0 all-time at JELD-WEN Field across all competitions … Sounders FC U-23 defender Adam West left the match in the 12th minute after sustaining a knee injury early on in the contest … The Timbers U-23s are 3-1-1 in their season-opening matches since joining the PDL in 2009.
POR: Eric Miller (Gabriel Conelian), 25
POR: Zack Foxhoven (Mark Sherrod), 65
SOU: Steve Mohn (Caution), 21
POR: David Meves (Caution), 88
POR: GK David Meves, D Travis Brent (JJ Greer, 46), D Will Seymore, D Bryan Gallego, D Mitchell Lurie (Jose Ribas, 67), M Eric Miller, M Gabriel Conelian (Clark Phillips, 73), M Zach Barnes, F Mark Sherrod (Anthony Hobbs, 86), F Will Vitalis (Jaime Velasco, 46), F Michael Escobar (Zack Foxhoven, 61)
Subs not used: GK Blake Hylen
SOU: GK Earl Edwards, D Steve Mohn (Josh Phillips, 86), D Chris Brundage, D Mark Lee, D Adam West (Michael Uyehara, 12), M David Machael (Miles Byass, 71), M Luis Esteves (Mauricio DeLeon, 46), M Abdul Aman, M Aodhan Quinn, F Eric Stevenson (Lucas Baldin, 76), F David Geno
Subs not used: GK Zac Lubin, D Nick Raskasky