Timbers U-23s Arizona United SC US Open Cup
Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers U-23s fall to Victoria Highlanders FC on the road

VICTORIA, B.C. — Playing their second match in two days, the Portland Timbers U-23s fell 3-1 to Victoria Highlanders FC on Saturday night at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria, B.C.

Portland (1-4-2, 5pts) traveled to Victoria for the first regular-season meeting between the two clubs this season and held the advantage in possession as Highlanders FC (3-2-2, 11pts) sat back to start the match.

Victoria capitalized on the counter attack scoring early in the first half and again just before halftime from a free kick. Portland pushed numbers forward in search of a goal but Highlanders FC countered scoring its third goal of the match in the 61st minute.

The Timbers U-23s controlled the run of the play in the second half and created several opportunities from the flanks in the match as midfielder Fatai Alashe just missed a chance with a header.

Portland pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 65th minute after forward Kharlton Belmar was fouled in the box and midfielder Omar Holness stepped up to convert the spot kick for his first goal of the season.

Timbers U-23s goalkeeper Justin Luthy made a season-high five saves and Portland forced Highlanders FC goalkeeper Brandon Watson into three saves in the match.

The Timbers U-23s will travel to Redmond, Wash. to take on Washington Crossfire on Thursday, June 12 at Redmond High School before facing Seattle Sounders FC U23 on Sunday, June 15 in Tumwater, Wash. at Tumwater High School. Kickoffs are scheduled for 7 p.m. (Pacific) and 2 p.m. (Pacific), respectively.

NOTES: Robert Conner and Nolan Moore made their first starts for the Timbers U-23s … The Timbers U-23s are 7-1-3 all-time record against Highlanders FC … The loss for Portland was its first in 11 matches against Victoria.