The Timbers Academy recently headed across the country for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase as the Timbers U-16s finished the three-game stretch with three consecutive wins and the Timbers U-18s closed a tough schedule with a decisive victory at Premier Sports Complex in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Entering the showcase on a good run of form with a 5-1-1 record over their last seven matches, the Timbers U-16s rattled off three straight wins from Nov. 30-Dec. 3 with victories against U-16 clubs representing Sporting Kansas City, the Chicago Fire and Weston FC of Florida. The Timbers U-16s opened the showcase with a 4-2 win over Sporting Kansas City U-16s on Nov. 30 as Adrian Villegas (Hood River, Ore.) and Carlos Rodriguez-Diaz (Vancouver, Wash.) gave Portland a 2-0 lead in the opening 22 minutes. SKC pulled a goal back before Blake Bodily (Eagle, Idaho) put the Timbers U-16s up 3-1 at the half. Joe Corner (Salem, Ore.) scored a goal in the second half for Portland.
Continuing their strong run, the Timbers U-16s blanked the Chicago Fire U-16s, 3-0, on Monday before closing out the showcase with a 3-1 win over Weston FC U-16s on Wednesday. The Timbers U-16s (8-3-2, 26pts) are 8-1-1 over their last 10 matches and are now just five points shy of first place in the Northwest Division through 13 games. Forward Jose Perez (McMinnville, Ore.) ranks third in the West Conference, and ninth overall nationally among U-16 players, with 11 goals in 13 appearances.
Scheduled against tough opposition – as all three opponents are currently in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs picture – the Timbers U-18s finished the three-game showcase with a 1-2-0 record, squaring off against U-18 sides representing the Chicago Fire, Montreal Impact and Colorado Rush.
The Timbers U-18s got a game-tying goal from Reid Baez (Salem, Ore.) in the 48th minute, but could not overcome two quick, second-half strikes in a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Fire U-18s on Nov. 29. Portland followed that up with a match against a Montreal Impact U-18 side that leads the Northeast Division and has conceded a Development Academy-low seven goals in 13 matches this season. The Impact U-18s scored twice in the first half of a 3-0 win over the Timbers U-18s on Nov. 30.
Closing the showcase on a high note, the Timbers U-18s (2-9-2, 8pts) deposited six goals into the back of the net for a 6-3 win over Colorado Rush U-18s on Tuesday. Jacob Kempf (Camas, Wash.) scored in the fifth minute for Portland, while Baez and Josh Varon (Bakersfield, Calif.) added goals before halftime for a three-goal cushion. As the Rush pushed to find goals in the second half, the Timbers U-18s received three more goals as Kempf netted his second of the match and Davis Chimento (Sherwood, Ore.) and Giovanni Magana-Rivera (Hood River, Ore.) each netted goals.
The Timbers Academy returns to action after the holiday season on Jan. 17 against the LA Galaxy Academy at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.