FRESNO, Calif. – Behind two first-half goals, T2 earned a 2-2 road draw against Fresno FC at Chukchansi Park on Saturday night, helping Portland clinch its first USL Cup Playoffs berth. Midfielders Jack Barmby and Marvin Loría each scored their sixth goal of the season, as T2 extended their unbeaten run to four games with the road point.
2018 USL Cup Playoffs
With the draw, T2 clinched a spot in the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs, marking the first time in its four USL seasons that Portland has qualified for the postseason. Portland is now the fourth team to clinch a spot in the Western Conference, with Orange County SC, Phoenix Rising FC and Real Monarchs SLC each qualifying for the playoffs.
With the draw, T2 are 6-1-1 in their last eight games dating, dating back to Aug. 11. Portland has outscored its opponents 19-8 during the eight-game stretch, and now sits in fourth place in the Western Conference standings, eight points behind first-place Orange County SC with three matches remaining in the regular season.
With the away draw, T2 improved to 7-4-4 in road matches this season. Portland is undefeated (3-0-2) in its last five road matches, dating back to July 28.
T2 took a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute after Loría was fouled inside the penalty area. Barmby then stepped up to the spot and fired his penalty kick past Fresno goalkeeper Mark Pais into the top right corner of the net. The goal marked Barmby’s third converted penalty kick of 2018.
Portland doubled its advantage in the 11th minute after Loría was fouled inside the box. Loría’s ensuing penalty attempt was placed into the upper left corner. The goal was Loría’s first from the penalty spot and T2’s ninth of the USL regular season.
Continuing to pressure the Fresno defense, midfielder Andre Lewis’ shot from inside the penalty area was parried aside by Pais in the 18th minute. Ten minutes later, forward Foster Langsdorf’s looping header from inside the box was placed on the roof of the net.
At the beginning of the second half, midfielder Victor Arboleda’s pass picked out Lewis inside the center of the 18-yard box, but his one-timed effort was saved by Pais in the 53rd minute.
Fresno cut into T2’s lead after defender Zachary Ellis-Hayden’s right-footed shot from the center of the box beat Mangels to make it a 2-1 score line in the 70th minute.
Cutting inside from the right wing, Loría dribbled past three Fresno defenders, but placed his curling effort inches past the far post in the 77th minute.
Fresno FC tied the match in stoppage time after second-half substitute Christian Chaney connected on Don Smart’s cross and powered his header Mangels, who finished the match with a season-high five saves.
Next up, T2 play the final game of a three-game road trip, traveling to face Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday, Sept. 29. Beginning at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific), the match will be streamed live on ESPN+.
Postgame Quote Sheet
T2 head coach Cameron Knowles
General thoughts on the match after clinching a playoff spot…
“The players are disappointed with the way the game ended, but when you isolate the result, with the draw on the road, it’s a massive result that qualifies us for the playoffs. It was a great performance from the guys, who put in a season’s worth of good performances to get us in this position.”
On the team’s performance in the first half…
“I thought we did really well. We have dangerous guys that run at players and force pretty bad decisions in the box.We knew it was going to be a game where they were going to come forward and be very direct and we’d have opportunities to counter attack. I thought we were pretty good in those moments.”
On the final three games in the regular season…
“We achieved our first goal, which was to get in [to the playoffs] and climb the table so we can be in the best possible position for when the postseason rolls around.”
T2 (16-11-4, 52pts) vs. Fresno FC (8-11-12, 36pts)
Sept. 22, 2018 – Chukchansi Field (Fresno, Calif.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
T2 2 0 2
Fresno FC 0 2 2
POR: Barmby (Penalty kick), 8
POR: Loría (Penalty kick), 11
FRS: Ellis-Hayden, 70
FRS: Chaney (Smart), 90+5
FRS: Brown (Caution), 38
FRS: Baldisimo (Caution), 54
FRS: Ribeiro (Caution), 60
POR: Zambrano (Caution), 61
POR: Barmby (Caution), 84
FRS: Chaney (Caution), 90+4
POR: GK Mangels, D Smith, D Diz Pe, D Jadama, D Farfan, M Zambrano ©, M Lewis, M Arboleda (Hanson, 73), M Loría, M Barmby, F Langsdorf (Williams, 88)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Pack, D Batista, D Mulligan, D Ornstil, M Anguiano
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Lewis, Loría , 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Lewis, Loría , 2); FOULS: 10 (Langsdorf, 3); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 5
FRS: GK Pais, D Ellis-Hayden, D Daly, D Brown, D Fewo (Bustamante, 79), M Baldisimo, M Ribeiro, M Barrera (Chaney, 71), M Caffa, M Johnson (Smart, 84), F Bevan
Substitutes Not Used: GK Reynish, D Del Campo, M Argueta, M Verhoeven,
TOTAL SHOTS: 21 (Three players tied, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; (Three players tied, 3) FOULS: 14 (Baldisimo, 4); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 4
Referee: Luis Guardia
Assistant Referees: Chris Elliot, Seth Martin
4th Official: Nicholas Marin
Weather: Clear, 89 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial