USL MATCH RECAP | Portland Timbers 2: 4, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2: 2

PORTLAND, Ore. – Receiving goals from forward Kharlton Belmar and midfielders Fatawu Safiu, George Fochive and Blair Gavin, T2 claimed their fifth win in seven home matches at Merlo Field (5-2-0), registering a 4-2 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on Sunday night in front of 2,728 fans in Portland, Ore. 

After conceding an early penalty-kick goal to Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, T2 (7-9-2, 23pts) scored two goals in a 12-minute span to take a 2-1 lead and added two additional goals in the second half, marking the fifth time this season the team has scored multiple goals in a match at Merlo Field. 

“The guys worked all week trying to get ready for this match here and I thought we just finished our opportunities much better,” said Jay Vidovich, head coach of T2. “We were a little more dangerous in the attack and I thought in the first half, in particular, after we made our first mistake on the [penalty kick] we settled things down.”

Belmar opened the scoring for T2 with his ninth goal of the season in the 18th minute, finishing a pinpoint cross from midfielder Santiago Biglieri with a powerful header from close range. Fatawu scored for a third consecutive match as he gave T2 a 2-1 lead in the 29th minute, receiving a pass from defender Andy Thoma before calmly slotting the ball into the bottom, right corner of the goal. 

Fochive put Portland in front 3-1 to begin the second half, scoring in the 52nd minute as he received a square ball from Biglieri and drove it past Vancouver goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi. The assist was Biglieri’s second of the night in his first USL start. 

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 (6-9-5, 23pts) scored in the ninth minute as forward Robert Earnshaw converted from the penalty spot after T2 were whistled for a foul in the box. Whitecaps FC 2 added a late goal in the 78th minute as forward Victor Blasco played a ball across goal to midfielder Kianz Froese who fired the ball past T2 goalkeeper Jake Gleeson. Leading 3-2, T2 midfielder Blair Gavin secured the win, tallying the second goal of the half for T2 as he finished from close range after receiving a pass from Belmar who fought his way across the defense in the 87th minute. 

Following Sunday’s match, T2 play host to English Premier League club Newcastle United F.C. in an international exhibition on Tuesday, July 21, at Providence Park; kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (Pacific). 

Tickets for Tuesday’s T2 match are available online by clicking here. The match will also be available via a live, high-definition web stream at

T2 (7-9-2, 23pts) at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 (6-9-5, 23pts)
July 19, 2015 – Merlo Field (Providence Park)

Goals by Half                1          2          F
Whitecaps FC 2             1          1         2

T2                                  2          2         4

Scoring Summary
VAN: Earnshaw (penalty kick), 9 
POR: Belmar (Biglieri), 18
POR: Fatawu (Thoma), 29
POR: Fochive (Biglieri), 52
VAN: Froese (Blasco), 78
POR: Gavin (Belmar), 87 

Misconduct Summary
POR: Payne (Caution), 35
VAN: Seymore (Caution), 49
VAN: Froese (Caution), 60
POR: Thoma (Caution), 72
VAN: Rosenlund (Caution), 87

Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Gleeson, D Thoma, D Peay, D Evans, D Jeanderson, M Payne, M Gavin ©, M Fochive, M Fatawu (Rose, 88), M Biglieri (Casiple, 63), F Belmar 

Substitutes Not Used: GK Luthy, M Lowe, D Manning, M Besler

TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Gavin, Fochive, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Three players, 2); FOULS: 7 (Evans, Thoma, 2) OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 0; SAVES: 5

VAN: GK Tornaghi, D Rodriguez, D Sampson, D Serban (Nitti, 41, Lewis, 85), D Seymore, M Flores (Rosenlund, 64), M McKendry, M Bustos, M Froese, F Hurtado (Schuler, 64), F Earnshaw (Blasco, 65)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Carducci, M Sandhu

TOTAL SHOTS: 22 (Froese, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Froese, 5); FOULS: 10 (Froese, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 4

Referee: Farhad Dadko
Assistant Referees: Andrew Deuker, Ian Miller
4th Official: William Baldwin
Attendance: 2,728
Weather: Sunny, 90 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial

Post-game quote sheet

T2 head coach Jay Vidovich

On what the team did better in this game compared to last week’s game against Vancouver…
“I mean it’s a work in progress. Part of it is last week is last week and we just moved on. We had different personnel, honestly. Same thing with them, they had different personnel. The guys worked all week trying to get ready for this match here and I thought we just finished our opportunities much better. We were a little more dangerous in the attack and I thought in the first half, in particular, after we made our first mistake on the [penalty kick] we settled things down. So, our defense is much more compact and we created some counters which were dangerous in the first half.”

On what he liked in the match…
“I mean I think we’ve taken our lumps whether it’s been on the road for so much or the loss last week. The guys take it very personal. For them to bounce back to go down a goal in a [penalty kick] which, once again, was at least a soft [penalty kick] and to now come back and by halftime be ahead was a great feeling but the reminder at halftime was that this is where we were last week at the same time so could we manage the game better and I thought the other positive response was that we got the third goal and that was key to the success.”

On what he attributes to the winning streak at Merlo…
“Well one is look at the tremendous field. I think the only problem is that everyone wants to come play on it as well. I mean, the Whitecaps coaches talked to me beforehand saying what a pleasure it was to come out here. It’s a great field and a great surface. It is playing in front of the Timbers crowd. It is home so that is an advantage.”

On how he plans on managing rest going into a busy week of matches…
“Well once again, we’ll start regeneration immediately. We’ll prepare there. We’ll have a different group of players, some different players that will be rotating in to play against Newcastle. Same thing when we turn around and play Seattle and then LA so hopefully we’ll continue to have some players available. It looks like in addition Rundell Winchester should be back in a day or so because Trinidad and Tobago lost today. As long as we continue to get more personnel and regenerate we will enter them into the plan.”

T2 midfielder Fatawu Safiu 

On what’s going well for him
“I feel good and it’s great to score but I don’t care about me scoring. It’s about the team winning so if I don’t score and the team wins I’m ok with that.”

On what he saw from his team…
“It’s the morale. We keep pushing each other to work hard. Sometimes we talk to each other [and say] come on guys, we have to get this because they beat us on the road so we have to get this. We talk to each other and keep pushing.”

On if there is something special in playing at Merlo…
“Sometimes the fans [make it special]. Even when you’re tired they keep pushing you. They keep talking and shouting so it keeps you moving and you want to do well. When you play away there aren’t a lot of fans there so sometimes it’s quite difficult for you. At home you feel comfortable with the ball and you can possess the ball.”