U-23s Saad Abdul-Salaam 2013
David Blair/Portland Timbers

Timbers U-23s rally for comeback draw at Kitsap

BREMERTON, Wash. – Defender Saad Abdul-Salaam and forward Mark Sherrod each scored in the second half to help the Portland Timbers U-23s overcome a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 comeback draw on the road against the Kitsap Pumas on Saturday night at Gordon Field.

The Timbers U-23s made their second trip to Gordon Field in the last two weeks to play the Pumas, and both matches ended in a draw. With a point on the road, the Timbers U-23s (5-1-2, 17pts) regained sole possession of first place in the Premier Development League’s Northwest Division and own a one point lead over Victoria Highlanders FC in second.

Entering the match on a four-game unbeaten streak, the Pumas (1-2-5, 8pts) jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals from midfielder Neil Shaffer. After tallying the game’s opening goal in the 14th minute, Shaffer then converted a penalty kick in the 56th minute as Timbers U-23s midfielder Victor Souto was called for a foul inside the penalty area.

The Timbers U-23s responded with two goals, both set up by midfielder Jose Ribas, inside a five minute span to pull level. A free kick by Ribas led to Abdul-Salaam’s first goal of the season in the 59th minute, cutting Kitsap’s lead in half. Sherrod then scored his first goal of the regular season in the 64th minute to knot the score at 2-2.

Wrapping up a stretch of four straight road games, the Timbers U-23s held an 11-4 advantage in shots over the Pumas, putting nine of their attempts on goal. The hard-fought match between the two division rivals produced seven cautions.

Kitsap earned a fifth consecutive draw to extend its unbeaten streak to five games.

The Timbers and Pumas square off for the third and final time during the regular season on Friday, June 21, at Alder Creek Middle School in Milwaukie, Ore., at 7 p.m. (Pacific). It will be the Timbers U-23s’ first home match since a 2-0 win over North Sound SeaWolves FC on May 31.

Notes: The two goals by the Pumas marked the first time during the regular season in which the Timbers U-23s allowed multiple goals in a match … Abdul-Salaam’s goal was the first by a Timbers U-23s defender this season … Portland has scored two or more goals in six of its 10 games this season across all competitions … The Timbers U-23s are 5-3-5 in the all-time series against the Pumas since 2009 … After four games on the road, the Timbers U-23s return home, where they are a perfect 3-0-0 and have yet to allow a goal this season.