U-23s Meves 2013 Seattle 1
Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers

Timbers U-23s host Washington, Victoria this weekend

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers U-23s play host to a pair of league matches this weekend, facing the Washington Crossfire on Friday at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas, Wash., at 7 p.m. (Pacific), and then Victoria Highlanders FC at Hare Field in Hillsboro, Ore., on Sunday at 12 noon (Pacific).

Additionally, the Timbers U-23s will play the Martinique National Team in a friendly on Saturday at Portland’s Buckman Field at 7 p.m. (Pacific). The match is open to the public.

Sunday’s match against Highlanders FC will feature two of the top teams in the Premier Development League’s Northwest Division. Victoria (7-1-1, 22pts) overtook the Timbers U-23s (6-1-2, 20pts) for first place in the division with a 2-1 win over the Kitsap Pumas on June 23. The Timbers U-23s sit just two points back of Highlanders FC in second place entering the weekend.

The Timbers U-23s have won all four of their home matches during the regular season and have yet to concede a goal, posting a 360-minute home shutout streak in 2013. The Timbers U-23s extended their home winning streak to four games on June 22, as midfielder Zach Barnes converted a first-half penalty kick in a 1-0 victory against Kitsap at Alder Creek Middle School.

The Timbers U-23s and Crossfire (2-5-1, 7pts) meet for the second and final time during the regular season. Washington handed Portland its only loss of the season with a 1-0 win at Redmond High School on June 5. The loss came despite an 11-4 shot advantage for the Timbers U-23s.

The Crossfire have lost three of their last four matches since defeating the Timbers U-23s, and have been shut out in all three losses. In sixth place in the division, Washington as tallied just four goals this season, but ranks among Western Conference leaders defensively, having surrendered only seven goals during the regular season.

The matchup between the Timbers U-23s and Highlanders FC will pit the Western Conference’s leading offense against one of the conference’s best defensive teams. Led by forward Jordan Hughes, Victoria has scored 24 goals in nine matches and has registered at least two goals in each match this season. Portland’s defense is tied for the fewest goals allowed (4) in the Western Conference and goalkeeper David Meves has recorded a PDL-leading six shutouts.

Victoria visits Portland as part of a five-game road stretch, which also will include a match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 on Friday at Thunderbird Stadium. Whitecaps FC U-23 handed Highlanders FC its lone loss earlier this season in a 5-3 win on May 31. On a four-game winning streak, Highlanders FC has yet to suffer defeat on the road this season.

The Timbers U-23s are 5-4-1 in the all-time series against the Crossfire. In the all-times series against Highlanders FC, the Timbers U-23s are 4-1-3. Portland and Victoria wrap up the 2013 season series between the teams on Saturday, July 13, at Royal Athletic Park.