PORTLAND, Ore. – Playing their 11th match at home during the 2017 USL regular season, T2 defeated Rio Grande Valley FC Toros 2-1 at Providence Park on Saturday night. Midfielder Villyan Bijev recorded the game-winning goal, while midfielder Omar Mohamed recorded his first career goal and added an assist. With the win, Portland earned its first win at home this season and improved their record to 2-1-0 all-time against Rio Grande Valley.
T2 (2-15-3, 9pts) scored the game-winning goal in the 81st minute, when Mohamed played a scooped pass to Bjiev on the edge of the 18-yard box, and Bijev’s half-volleyed attempt was struck into the far lower corner of the net. The goal was Bijev’s team-leading seventh of the season.
Portland opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Mohamed dispossessed a Rio Grande Valley defender inside the box, and rifled his shot past Toros goalkeeper Marco Carducci at the far post.
Rio Grande Valley (6-10-3, 21pts) equalized shortly after when forward Joseph Holland headed home a cross in the 30th minute past T2 goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh, who finished the match with four saves, including a penalty stop on midfielder Jose Escalante in the 53rd minute and another diving penalty save to his left on RGV midfielder Todd Wharton in the 88th minute to preserve the lead.
Holding a 5-4 shot advantage in the first half, T2 midfielder Villyan Bijev unleashed a left-footed drive from just outside the 18-yard box that forced Carducci into a diving save in the third minute. In the 12th minute, midfielder Russell Cicerone beat his defender down the right flank and sent in a low cross across the face of goal that found defender Kyle Bjornethun, and his low shot from the left edge of the box was saved by Carducci. Continuing to apply pressure, Mohamed picked out forward Augustine Williams from a corner kick, and his header was sent over the crossbar in the 17th minute. Two minutes later, midfielder Tomás Granitto’s free-kick attempt from 25-yards out was fired over the crossbar in the 19th minute.
In the second half, Bijev played a chipped ball in behind the Toros defense that picked out an onrushing Cicerone, and his shot from inside the penalty area was fired over the target in the 69th minute.
Next up, T2 travel to face Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Weidner Field on Saturday, Aug. 5; kickoff is set for 5 p.m. (Pacific).
The Aug. 5 match will also be available via a live, high-definition web stream at www.timbers2.com.
Postgame Quote Sheet
T2 head coach Andrew Gregor
On his thoughts after the win at home…
“It’s important for us to get a win, especially at home. At times, we made it difficult on ourselves and that’s still a part of the development process for us. There’s quite a few situations where we can continue to be better. We had some guys step up in moments. Omar [Mohamed] and [Villyan] Bijev scored big goals for us, and then obviously Kendall [McIntosh] being outstanding as he normally is and saved a couple of penalty kicks, which is kind of a rare thing to see. I’m pleased with the result, but I know that we can continue to do better and play better.”
On midfielder Omar Mohamed scoring his first career USL goal…
“I thought Omar was very good. He got into some good spots. I think maybe late in the second half they started to shift a little bit more to his side, but I’m glad to see him get rewarded for what he’s done this year. I think he’s been a little bit unlucky not to score this year, and hopefully breaking through and getting a goal is going to continue to push him forward.”
On goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh making two penalty saves to preserve the win…
“Kendall is Kendall. He’s a very good professional. He’s still growing and getting better, but he’s outstanding. He did something really special for us tonight. We see it all the time in training. Maybe we get used to seeing it, but it’s not really a surprise because he’s an outstanding goalkeeper. We’re lucky to have him and he saved us tonight.”
On heading into next Saturday’s road match against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC…
“We’re on a little bit of a run now – four points out of six. We made a little bit of a run last year right around this time, and hopefully we can look to do that again. Going to Colorado is difficult task. They’re coached well, but we played them here and tied them early in the year and probably deserved more. We’ll go there with the same attitude and go there and try to get points. We’re at that point in the season where we’ve got to get points and have got to get them fast. Every game that’s in front of us, we’re going to try and take three points and see where it leaves us at the end of the season.”
T2 (2-15-3, 9pts) vs. Rio Grande Valley FC Toros (6-10-3, 21pts)
July 29, 2017 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
T2 1 1 2
Rio Grande Valley 1 0 1
POR: Mohamed, 26
RGV: Holland (Greene), 30
POR: Bijev (Mohamed), 81
RGV: Escalante (Caution), 33
RGV: James (Caution), 34
RGV: Bird (Caution), 75
POR: Hanson (Caution), 87
RGV: Bird (Ejection), 90
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK McIntosh ©, D Hanson, D Clarke, D Amick, D Bjornethun, M Granitto (Lowe, 84), M Ornstil, M Cicerone, M Bijev, M Mohamed (Jimenez, 85), F Williams
Substitutes Not Used: GK Hamilton, D Batista, M Anguiano, M Perez, F Calixtro
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Granitto, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Bijev, 2); FOULS: 9 (Bijev, Williams, 2); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 3
RGV: GK Carducci, D Greene, D K. Garcia, D Magalhaes, D Hunter, M James (Pungo, 54), M Escalante (Murphy, 71), M Bird ©, M Wharton, M Holland, F Casner (Garza, 77)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Angotia, D Ayala, D J. Garcia, D Sagel
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Bird, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Four players tied, 1); FOULS: 16 (Four players tied, 3); OFFSIDES: 6; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 2
Referee: Farhad Dadkho
Assistant Referees: Seth Martin, Jason Perlewitz
4th Official: JJ Blodgett
Weather: Clear, 81 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial.