CAMAS, Wash. — Midfielder Jose Ribas and forward Zack Foxhoven each scored in the final 20 minutes for the Portland Timbers U-23s, but their comeback fell just short in a 3-2 loss to the Washington Crossfire on Friday night before 2,028 fans at Doc Harris Stadium.
Despite the loss, the Timbers U-23s (6-2-2, 20pts) remain in second place in the Premier Development League’s Northwest Division, just three points back of division-leader Victoria Highlanders FC, who played the Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 to a draw on the road Friday.
The Timbers U-23s play Victoria on Sunday at Hare Field in Hillsboro, Ore., at 12 noon (Pacific), and can move into a tie of first place in the division with a win.
The Timbers U-23s suffered their first home loss of the regular season and just their second loss on the campaign – both of which have come against the Crossfire (3-5-1, 10pts). Washington’s three goals on Friday marked the first goals allowed by the Timbers U-23s at home during the regular season.
Washington forward Christian Roldan ended the Timbers U-23s four-game home shutout streak with his first goal in the 41st minute. Roldan then picked the ball from the Timbers U-23s’ backline to score again in the 64th minute to put Crossfire up 2-0.
The Timbers U-23s nearly broke through in the 68th minute, as Foxhoven had a shot bounce high off the left post. Foxhoven played the ball amidst heavy traffic in the middle of the box, flicking it towards the far post after receiving a pass from defender Saad Abdul-Salamm on the right side.
Ribas’ goal in the 74th minute ignited the Timbers U-23s late push for the comeback. Ribas received a pass from the right flank from forward Will Vitalis and hit a low drive through a pair of Crossfire defenders and inside the far post for his first goal of the season and trim the deficit 2-1.
Washington scored what proved to be the decisive goal in the 88th minute, taking a 3-1 lead. The Timbers U-23s back line had pushed forward to aid the attack, and Crossfire forward Matthew Poplawski took advantage, playing through midfielder Ian Adams for a chance on goal and Adams converted.
Foxhoven pulled one back for the Timbers U-23s in second-half stoppage time. Amidst heavy traffic in the box, Foxhoven took a free kick from defender Bryan Gallego out of the air with a bicycle kick, sending it just under the crossbar to trim the score line 3-2.
The Timbers U-23ss had a couple of looks for an equalizer in second-half stoppage time. The best chance came on a shot from defender JJ Greer, which got past Washington goalkeeper Mike Arguello but was cleared on the goal line by a defender. Portland outshot Washington 11-5 in the second half.
The Timbers U-23s return to action Saturday as they face 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup participant the Martinique National Team in a friendly at Buckman Field in Portland at 7 p.m. (Pacific). The team resumes league play Sunday as it plays host to Victoria Highlanders FC at Hare Field in Hillsboro, Ore., at 12 noon (Pacific).
Notes: The Crossfire handed the Timbers U-23s their first home loss of the regular season … The three goals scored by Crossfire were the first goals allowed by the Timbers U-23s in a regular-season home match … Washington forward Christian Roldan is the first opposing player in 2013 to score multiple goals in a match against the Timbers U-23s. Roldan’s opening goal in the 41st minute ended Portland’s consecutive shutout streak at 401 minutes … The Timbers U-23s’ only two regular-season losses have been to Crossfire … Portland’s Bryan Gallego became the team’s third defender to register a point this season, assisting on Zack Foxhoven’s goal … Timbers U-23s forward Zack Foxhoven is tied with Clark Phillips as the team’s leading goal-scorer with three goals each … Timbers U-23s midfielder Zach Barnes and goalkeeper David Meves have played every minute of the regular season (900 min.).
WAS: Roldan (Besagno), 41
WAS: Roldan, 64
POR: Ribas (Vitalis), 74
WAS: Adams (Poplawski), 88
POR: Foxhoven (Gallego), 90+
WAS: Besagno (Caution), 46
POR: Gallego (Caution), 73
POR: GK David Meves, D Saad Abdul-Salaam, D Craig Nitti, D Bryan Gallego, D Evyn Hewett (Zack Foxhoven, 45), M Zach Barnes, M Jackson McCracken, M Jose Ribas, F John McFarlin (Will Vitalis, 69), F Clark Phillips, F Mitch Lurie (JJ Greer, 69)
Subs not used: GK Blake Hylen, D Anthony Hobbs, D Travis Brent, D Anthony Hobbs, F Jaime Velasco
WAS: GK Mike Arguello, D Andy Thoma, D Justin Schmidt, D Jeremy Carlson, D Jose Ocampo, M Matt Sarett (Matthew Poplawski, 74), M Ben Fisk, M Nik Besagno (Ian Adams, 61), M Sean Russell (Niccola Piacentini, 89), F Christian Roldan (Justin Amundsen, 87), F James Moberg
Subs not used: GK Ian Clark, D Jeffrey Collings