T2, Villyan Bijev at Orange County SC - July 1, 2017

USL MATCH RECAP | Orange County SC: 3, Portland Timbers 2: 3

IRVINE, Calif. – Playing their eighth road match of the 2017 regular season, T2 battled Orange County SC to a 3-3 draw at Orange County Great Park on Saturday evening. Midfielder Villyan Bijev recorded a brace, while forward Russell Cicerone tallied his first career USL goal.

T2 (1-13-2, 5pts) opened the scoring in the 31st minute when midfielder Tomás Granitto’s delivery from a corner kick picked out Bijev, whose powerful header beat goalkeeper Charlie Lyon at the far post to give Portland a 1-0 lead. The assist was Granitto’s first of the season.

After heading into halftime with a 1-0 lead, Orange County (4-4-2, 14pts) equalized in the 57th minute when midfielder Carlos Alvarez curled in his free-kick attempt over the wall and into the corner of the net in the 57th minute. Orange County took a 2-1 shortly after when defender Roy Meeus converted his penalty attempt in the 49th minute.

T2 leveled the score from a second set-piece play in the 71st minute. Midfielder Blake Bodily delivered an excellent ball that picked out defender Max Ornstil inside the six-yard box. Ornstil headed the ball across the face of the goal towards an onrushing Russell Cicerone, who blasted his shot past Lyon to make it a 2-2 scoreline.

Portland was awarded a penalty after forward Augustine Williams was brought down inside the box by Orange County defender Oscar Sorto. Bijev stepped up to the penalty spot, and struck a right-footed shot towards the bottom left-hand corner of the net to give T2 a 3-2 lead in the 85th minute. With the goal, Bijev has now converted three penalty attempts this season and leads the team with six goals.

Following a scuffle that led to red cards being issued to Orange County midfielders Jerry van Ewijk and Amirgy Pineda and T2 defender Lamar Batista, Orange County tied the match in stoppage time when Gustavo Villalobos tapped in from inside the six-yard box in the 91st minute.

T2 created a number of scoring chances in the second half. A failed clearance from Orange County fell to T2 defender Kyle Bjornethun, and his shot from inside the six-yard box was saved off the line by Sorto in the 49th minute. T2 defender Harold Hanson played a long ball that Williams got on the end of and his shot from a tough angle went inches past the far post in the 74th minute. In stoppage time, T2 nearly took the lead when Bijev’s right-footed shot from outside the box forced Lyon into a save in the 96th minute.

Portland created additional chances to score in the first half after Bijev found space on the edge of the 18-yard box and his driven shot was saved by Lyon in the 19th minute. After Orange County turned the ball over in its own half, Bodily played a ball to forward Williams, and his shot from outside the box was caught by Lyon in the 36th minute.

Next up, T2 return home to face LA Galaxy II at Providence Park on Sunday, July 9; kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (Pacific).

The July 9 match will also be available via a live, high-definition web stream at www.timbers2.com.

Postgame Quote Sheet
T2 head coach Andrew Gregor
On earning a point on the road tonight…
“It was a competitive game. Playing on the road is always difficult. I thought at times we did a good job. We started the second half O.K., but then we didn’t manage it so well. We showed a lot of fight tonight to fight back, get into it and then take the lead. There was a little bit of chaos towards the end and I think that’s an experience situation for certain players to recognize the moment, manage that towards the end of the game and win a game on the road. These are all things that a young group has to learn. The group will walk away with their heads down, but they’ve got to remember getting a point on the road is not a bad situation at all. We’ll take the point on the road, look at the positives from the game and then circle back around next week for LA Galaxy II.”

On the performances of midfielder Villyan Bijev and forward Russell Cicerone…
“I thought Bijev was good. We asked him to do something different today defensively and I thought he did a decent job of it. For me with Bijev, I want production out of him. He’s that sort of player. He did a good job. He scored the first goal on a nice header, and then stepped up at a pressure-filled spot and scored the penalty to put us up 3-2. We’re pleased with his performance. Russ [Russell Cicerone] has been a little unlucky this year not to score some goals, so I’m very pleased for him. He’s been working really hard and is a very dedicated player. I’m glad he finally got rewarded. He just kept running, got into a good spot and banged it home. Hopefully that will be the start for Russ and starts being really productive for us.”

On next Sunday’s match against LA Galaxy II…
“We’ll take a point on the road to build on this. We’ve worked really hard to get to this point, to get the point on the road and now we’ve got to turn that around and bring the same mentality and the same passion for the game on Sunday against Galaxy II. You can look at their results and their team, and they’re maybe a little bit on the younger side, but they’re still a good group. They’re coached well. We’ve got to go out and we’re really going to have to earn any points that we’re going to get on Sunday. I thought today, as far as taking a step in a positive direction, was very good for us. We can be disappointed about not getting all three points, but we earned a point on the road. Next weekend, we’ve got to put the same sort of effort and hopefully come out of the next game with points as well.”

T2 (1-13-2, 5pts) vs. Orange County SC (4-4-2, 14pts)
July 1, 2017 – Orange County Great Park (Irvine, Calif.)

Goals by Half                 1          2          F
T2                                 1          2          3
Orange County              0          3          3

Scoring Summary
POR: Bijev (Granitto), 31
OC: Alvarez, 56
OC: Meeus (Penalty Kick), 63
POR: Cicerone, 71
POR: Bijev (Penalty Kick), 85
OC: Villalobos (Etim), 90+1

Misconduct Summary
POR: Bijev (Caution), 78
OC: Chaplow (Caution), 78
OC: Van Ewijk (Ejection), 89
POR: Batista (Ejection), 89
OC: A. Pineda (Ejection) 90

Lineups & Stats
POR: GK McIntosh ©, D Hanson, D Ornstil, D Amick, D Bjornethun, M Montes (Batista, 87), M Granitto, M Mohamed (Cicerone, 66), M Bijev, M Bodily, F Williams

Substitutes Not Used: GK Hamilton, D Jimenez, M Perez, F Calixtro

TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Bijev, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Bijev, 4); FOULS: 23 (Bijev, 7); OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 9 

OC: GK Lyon, D Meeus, D Wbias, D Franco, D Sorto, M Alvarez, M V. Pineda (Villalobos, 85), M A. Pineda, F Fernandes, F Stevanovic (Etim, 76), F Van Ewijk

Substitutes Not Used: GK Beyers, D Esua, D Navarro, M Chaplow, M Kobayashi

TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Alvarez, 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 12 (Alvarez, 5); FOULS: 17 (Van Ewijk, 4); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 3

Referee: Timothy Ford
Assistant Referees: Steve Skille, Joseph Salinas
4th Official: Mark Allatin
Attendance: 2,127
Weather: Clear, 72 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.