Brent Richards U-23s vs. Washington
Miranda Chrislock

Timbers U-23s fall 2-1 to Abbotsford

CAMAS, Wash. – A pair of assists by midfielder Colton O’Neill and a nine-save performance from goalkeeper Andrew Kowen led the Abbotsford Mariners to a 2-1 win over the Portland Timbers U-23s at Doc Harris Stadium in front of 2,453 on Friday night.

O’Neill assisted both of Abbotsford’s first half goals, scored by forward Danfi Parker and midfielder Juan Pablo Mora Perea, to help his side build a 2-1 lead heading into halftime. Timbers U-23s attempted 12 shots in the second half, forcing Kowen to make seven saves in the half, but could not find their finishing touch to earn a share of the points. Forward Brent Richards, a native of Camas, Wash., scored on a penalty kick in the 38th minute for Portland.

O’Neill recorded his first two assists of the season and both Mora Perea and Parker scored their second goals of the season to help the Mariners (5-6-2, 17pts) remain in the race for a postseason berth with their second win of the week. Playing in just his third game of the season, Kowen’s nine saves was a season high.

Richards tallied his fifth goal of the season, midfielder Tracy Hasson attempted a team-high five shots and substitute goalkeeper Garrett Staples recorded three saves for the Timbers U-23s (5-5-2, 17pts). With their third loss in five games, the Timbers U-23s fall into a two-way tie with Abbotsford for fourth place in the PDL’s Northwest Division.

The Mariners claimed the lead in the 19th minute on their first shot of the night taken by Mora Perea. With space from just inside 30 yards, Mora Perea lifted a shot over the reach of Timbers U-23s goalkeeper Jason Dodson and into the top left corner of the goal to cap off a quick possession for Abbotsford.

The Timbers U-23s pulled level in the 38th minute, capitalizing on a misplay by Abbotsford defender James Farenhorst, who was called for a handball inside the box. Richards, Portland’s leading scorer, then calmly slotted a low rolling shot into the bottom left corner of the goal on the ensuing penalty kick attempt.

The Mariners regained the lead just before halftime on strike by Parker. O’Neill played Parker into space just beyond the penalty area, and with his right boot, Parker blasted a shot by Dodson and inside the far post to lift Abbotsford to a 2-1 lead in the 45th minute.

Trailing at the break, Portland held a 7-5 advantage in shots in the first half. Hasson nearly scored directly off a corner kick in the 23rd minute, but had his service knocked away at the last second by Kowan. The Timbers U-23s then had a sequence of chances in the 37th minute in which Travis Bowen had a close-range shot saved and Miles Byass put the follow-up attempt off the underside of the crossbar.

Among Portland’s 12 shots in the second half, defender Ryan Kawulok had two of the team’s better chances late in the half. After forcing Kowan into a save on a shot from 12 yards out with 20 minute remaining, Kawulok had a one-on-one opportunity with Kowan just knocked off course by the goalkeeper in the 79th minute.

In the closing minutes of the match, a long throw-in by Richards in the Timbers U-23s’ attacking third led to a final chance to find the equalizer. The ball rattled around the box before second-half sub Thomas Iwasaki skipped a shot from along the right post just wide of the mark.

The Timbers U-23s play host to the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency in their regular-season home finale Sunday at Hare Field in Hillsboro, Ore.; kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Still in the hunt for one of the division’s playoff spots, the Timbers U-23s finish the 2011 regular season with three straight road matches.

Notes: Doc Harris Stadium is the home of Camas High School, where Timbers U-23s players Brent Richards and Nick Palodichuk attended high school and played prep soccer. Both players received a standing ovation from the crowd during pre-game introductions … Portland out-shot Abbotsford 19-9 in the contest … The loss was the second to Abbotsford this season and marked the just the third time in Timbers U-23s history in which the team lost a season series to an opponent; the other two came during the team’s inaugural PDL season in 2009 … Friday’s loss was also the first time the Timbers U-23s had lost to the Mariners at home since 2009, and are now 3-2-0 in the all-time series against Abbotsford … The Timbers U-23s changed ‘keepers at halftime as Staples replaced Dodson in goal … Coming on as a late sub, midfielder Richie Carrillo made his first appearance for the Timbers U-23s since May 25.

Scoring Summary:
ABB: Mora Perea (O’Neill) 19
POR: Richards (penalty kick) 37
ABB: Parker (O’Neill) 45

POR: GK Jason Dodson (Garrett Staples, 46), D Jesus Gonzalez, D Ryan Kawulok, D Reed Matte (Luis Esteves, 83), D Dylan Tucker, M Tracy Hasson (Thomas Iwasaki, 79), M Sean Morris (Richie Carrillo, 79), M Nick Palodichuk, M Brent Richards, F Miles Byass (Ricky Abrego, 59), F Travis Bowen (Roberto Farfan, 46)

ABB: GK Andrew Kowan, D Colton O’Neill, D James Farenhorst, D Brent Wantke, D Cody Strelau, M Adriano Negri, M Juan Pablo Mora Perea, M Spencer MacKinnon (Adrian Kekec, 66), M Mohammad Aziz, F Sasa Plavsic, F Danfi Parker