Jose Ribas, Timbers U-23s vs. Arizona United, 5.13.14
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

USL PDL RECAP: Portland Timbers U-23s earn road point in draw with Puget Sound Gunners FC

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. – Playing in their first road match of the 2014 Premier Development League (PDL) campaign, the Portland Timbers U-23s earned a come-from-behind, 1-1 draw against Puget Sound Gunners FC on Saturday afternoon at Mount Si High School Stadium in Snoqualmie, Wash.

Trailing 1-0 in the final 20 minutes of the match, Timbers U-23s midfielder Fatai Alashe registered the game-tying goal, converting a rebound in the 70th minute for his second goal in as many games. Setting up the opportunity, Jamaican midfielder Omar Holness fired a strong volley from distance that Puget Sound goalkeeper Spencer Richey couldn’t corral, allowing Alashe time to beat two defenders to the ball before slotting a shot inside the far left post.

Minutes after scoring the equalizer, Alashe nearly added a second goal for the Timbers U-23s, but saw a well-struck header hit the left post and deflect off a Puget Sound player before being collected by the goalkeeper.

After earning a 2-2 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 on Thursday in their 2014 PDL season-opening match, the Timbers U-23s gained the majority of possession in the first half, putting pressure on the Gunners FC goal. Forward Miguel Aguilar and midfielder Kenny Cunningham each saw scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes, as Aguilar fired just wide into the side netting and Cunningham sent a header just over the crossbar.

The Timbers U-23s (0-0-2, 2pts) forced two saves in first-half stoppage time as Aguilar delivered a shot toward the near left post off a corner kick and defender Louis Cross saw his rebound attempt parried over the crossbar.

Gunners FC (0-0-1, 1pt), playing their first match of the season, grabbed the go-ahead goal in the 60th minute when defender Michael Dodds connected on a header off a corner kick from defender Justice Duerksen.

The Timbers U-23s continue their two-game road stretch with a match against the Kitsap Pumas on Saturday, May 24, at Gordon Park Field in Bremerton, Wash.; kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (Pacific). Portland returns to the Rose City on Friday, May 30, to play host to Puget Sound Gunners FC on a Providence Health & Fitness Day at Providence Park; kickoff is set for 11 a.m. (Pacific).

Notes: With the draw, the Timbers U-23s extended their unbeaten streak against Puget Sound, formerly named North Sound SeaWolves, to seven consecutive matches (6-0-1) since 2011 … Midfielder Fatai Alashe scored a goal in a second consecutive match for the Timbers U-23s.

The Portland Timbers U-23s are an amateur team affiliated with the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer and serves as a development platform for the club's first team. The team consists of standout players from collegiate and youth programs from Oregon, the Northwest and throughout the country, and competes in United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League (PDL). Since their founding, five Timbers U-23s players have signed with the first team, including goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and Timbers Homegrown Players Steven Evans and Bryan Gallego. The Timbers U-23s assembled an historic campaign in 2010, posting a perfect 16-0-0 record during the regular season on their way to becoming the first undefeated champion in PDL history.