PORTLAND, Ore. – Forward Kharlton Belmar tallied the game-tying goal in the 83rd minute and midfielder Fatai Alashe added his first goal of the season as the Portland Timbers U-23s opened the 2014 PDL campaign with a 2-2 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 in front of 3,517 fans on a Providence Health & Fitness Day Thursday afternoon at Providence Park.
After conceding the go-ahead goal five minutes before halftime, Portland found the equalizer in the 83rd minute as Belmar connected on a free kick from Timbers U-18 Academy midfielder Jesse Garcia-Aguilar, slotting the game-tying goal inside the far post.
The Timbers U-23s (0-0-1, 1pt) took an early lead as Alashe collected a loose ball following a Portland corner kick and beat Whitecaps FC U-23 goalkeeper William Diaz with a strong volley for his first goal of the season. Wearing the captain’s armband for the match, Alashe attempted two shots, while Belmar finished with a team-high five shots.
Portland and Vancouver finished level on shots, 12-12, while Timbers U-23s goalkeeper Brendan Moore made five saves in the season-opening draw for Portland.
Following Portland’s early goal, Whitecaps FC U-23 (0-1-2, 2pts) tied the match in the 27th minute as defender Nick Prasad converted on a corner kick from midfielder Marlon Ramirez. Five minutes before the end of the first half, Vancouver grabbed the lead when forward Brett Levis found midfielder Cody Cook at the far post following a combination of passes.
Playing their second match in three days following a 3-2 loss against USL PRO side Arizona United SC on Tuesday in the second round of the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Providence Park, the Timbers U-23s nearly found the equalizer in the 68th minute when Belmar delivered a header that struck the crossbar.
The Timbers U-23s travel to face off against Puget Sound Gunners FC at Mount Si High School Stadium on Saturday; kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. (Pacific).
Notes: The Timbers improved their all-time record to 7-1-4 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 in all competitions ... Foster Langsdorf, Anthony Machionne, and Jesse Garcia-Aguilar, all members of the Timbers U-18 Academy team, saw action on Thursday … Including Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup match, Garcia-Aguilar has registered an assist in back-to-back matches.
POR: Alashe, 15
VAN: Prasad (Ramirez), 27
VAN: Cook (Levis), 40
POR: Belmar (Garcia-Aguilar), 83
VAN: Lakhan (Caution), 30
POR: Rose (Caution), 34
VAN: Serban (Caution), 43
POR: Cross (Caution), 59
VAN: Farahani (Caution), 85
POR: GK Brendan Moore, D Zach Hamer (Will Seymore, 45), D Kyle Fisher, D David Rose (Foster Langsdorf, 80), D Louis Cross, M Fatai Alashe ©, M Jose Ribas (Kenny Cunningham, 73), M Devon Fisher, M Sam Gainford (Garcia-Aguilar, 80), F Kharlton Belmar, F Miguel Aguilar (Anthony Machionne, 89)
Subs Not Used: GK Justin Luthy
VAN: GK William Diaz, D Colton O’Neil, D Jordan Farahani, D Nick Prasad (Jordan Haynes, 69), D Chris Serban, M Harry Lakhan, M Reynold Stewart, M Cody Cook (Ali Musse, 75), M Marlon Ramirez (Adam Jones, 88), F Brett Levis (Mark Baldisimo, 84), F Niall Cousens
Subs Not Used: None