Timbers U-23s set for final road trip of regular season

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers U-23s embark on their final road trip of the regular-season to face the Spokane Spiders Friday at 7 p.m. and the Yakima Reds on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. The Timbers U-23s are in contention for one of three playoff spots in the Northwest Division.

Portland (8-3-2, 26pts) enters the weekend in third place in their division, but sit just one point behind the second-place Seattle Wolves. The Timbers U-23s have won two of their last four games and captured a 1-1 draw in their previous match on July 4 against the Kitsap Pumas.

The Timbers U-23s are one of five Northwest Division teams battling for a postseason berth; the top three teams in each division advance to the playoffs. Kitsap, who sits in first place, needs to win just one of their remaining two regular-season matches to secure the top seed in the division. The other teams competing for playoff positions are Portland, Seattle (8-3-3, 27pts), the Cascade Surge (7-4-2, 23pts) and Tacoma Tide (4-4-4, 16pts).

The Timbers U-23s have played both Spokane and Yakima previously this season at PGE Park. On May 15, the Timbers shutout the Spiders 4-0 before handing the Reds an 8-2 loss the next night on May 16. Over that two-game period, forward Brent Richards logged two goals and three assists; he ranks among team leaders in both offensive categories this season.

On Friday, the Timbers U-23s will be without the services of defenders Daniel Leach and Josh Brown due to one-game, league-imposed suspensions as the result of their ejections against Kitsap last weekend. Both are eligible to play against Yakima on Saturday.

Portland rounds out its regular-season schedule on Saturday, July 18, at home as it plays host to the Abbotsford Mariners at Lincoln High School in Portland, Ore., at 7 p.m.

The Spiders (3-11-0, 9pts) close their regular-season schedule with back-to-back matches against the Timbers U-23s and Vancouver Whitecaps Residency. Spokane has lost their last two matches, both on the road. The Spiders have conceded 46 goals this season, the most in the Premier Development League. Spokane sits in 10th place in the Northwest Division.

The Reds (3-10-0, 9pts) have been out-scored 18-1 over their last three matches, leading to three straight losses. The Reds face the Timbers U-23s as part of a two-game weekend; they face Vancouver on Friday. Yakima has won its last three consecutive home matches, scoring 12 goals in those three games. The Reds rank ninth in the Northwest Division.