USL MATCH RECAP | Portland Timbers 2: 3, Las Vegas Lights FC: 1

PORTLAND, Ore. – Playing in their 2019 USL Championship home opener, T2 picked up their second consecutive win by defeating Las Vegas Lights FC 3-1 at Merlo Field on Saturday night. Midfielder Dairon Asprilla tallied a brace and an assist, while forward Foster Langsdorf scored his first goal of 2019, as T2 continued their undefeated start to begin the season.  

With his two-goal performance, Asprilla is the second player to register a brace for T2 in 2019 after midfielder Marvin Loría tallied two goals against San Antonio FC on March 16. Langsdorf now has scored in consecutive home openers for T2 (2-0-1, 7pts), as he scored in Portland’s 3-2 win over Rio Grande Valley FC at Merlo Field on April 18, 2018.

Portland against Las Vegas Lights FC
With the result, T2 improved to 2-1-0 in three all-time matches against Las Vegas Lights FC (0-2-1, 1pt). The match on Saturday marked the first of two regular-season matches between the two clubs in 2019, as they will face each other again at Cashman Field on Saturday, Aug. 24.

Home openers
With the result, T2 improved to 3-2-0 in five regular-season home openers dating back to the 2015 season. Additionally, head coach Cameron Knowles is now 2-0-0 in home openers at Merlo Field.

T2 firsts
Making their season debuts for T2, Asprilla and midfielder Andrés Flores both started and played 90 minutes in the match on loan from the Timbers. Midfielder Ryan Sierakowski tallied his first professional assist in 45 minutes of action as a second-half substitute.

Key plays
In the eighth minute, midfielder Renzo Zambrano’s delivery from a free kick found Asprilla on the left edge of the box, but his header missed the target.

T2 took a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute when defender Modou Jadama delivered a long ball down the left wing to Asprilla. Taking the ball down on his chest, Asprilla delivered a low cross across the face of goal to Langsdorf, who tapped in from close range to score his first goal of the season.

After Langsdorf was fouled inside the box in the 15th minute, his penalty attempt was kick saved by Las Vegas goalkeeper Thomas Olsen. In the 23rd minute, Loría’s powerful shot from outside the left edge of the box was fired wide past the target.

Portland doubled its advantage in the 44th minute after Langsdorf was fouled inside the penalty area. Asprilla’s ensuing penalty kick was fired past Olsen to make it a 2-0 score line.

Just before halftime, Flores’ shot from the right edge of the box missed just to the left of the post in the 45th minute.

Three minutes into the start of the second half, Asprilla’s shot from outside the box forced Olsen to parry the ball over the crossbar. After Flores’ corner kick picked out Asprilla in the center of the penalty area, his header was saved by Olsen in the 56th minute.

Las Vegas cut into T2’s lead in the 70th minute when defender Gabe Robinson headed in midfielder Christian Hernandez’s service from a free kick to make it 2-1.

T2 extended their lead to 3-1 after Sierakowski flicked the ball to Asprilla, whose acrobatic bicycle-kick from the center of the box was fired off the left post and into the back of the net in the 74th minute to complete his brace.

In the 89th minute, second-half substitute Brayan Hurtado sent in a low cross to the back post to Flores, but his sliding shot just missed to the right of the target.

Next Game
Next up, T2 travel to face LA Galaxy II at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday, March 30. Beginning at 7 p.m. (Pacific), the match will be streamed live on ESPN+.

Postgame Quote Sheet
T2 head coach Cameron Knowles
Thoughts on the team’s performance…
"I thought the team did well against an attacking group from Las Vegas that showed that they can be really dangerous and commit numbers forward. So, I think overall for the team to manage those attacking threats and then to take the moments and be clinical to finish and get those goals, especially the last one, which was spectacular and was really well done.”

On midfielder Dairon Asprilla’s bicycle kick goal…
"It was a really good play from Ryan [Sierakowski] to get the ball in there, but that’s a moment of individual brilliance that I think is rarely seen. That really was spectacular.”

On winning in the team’s home-opening match…
"It was great. We are fortunate that we get out and we get to play and we don’t have to play as many games on the road, as the Timbers to start the season. So to be able to come out here in Merlo Field and play a game… I think we wanted to put on a display and show what we are capable of and to get three points and to start with a strong home stand is really important.

Thoughts on next week’s match against LA Galaxy II…
"I think we have to look at them and see that they have quite a high-scoring game not in their favor this weekend, but they’ve got a number of good players, a number of dangerous players. Some of those familiar faces from last year we will see again. So, we need to prepare this week for a new opponent and enjoy this result for now and put it behind us and then come up with a plan to keep things rolling into LA.”

T2 (2-0-1, 7pts) vs. Las Vegas Lights FC (0-2-1, 1pt)
March 23, 2019 – Merlo Field (Portland, Ore.)

Goals by Half                1          2          F
T2                                 2          1          3
Las Vegas Lights FC      0          1          1                   

Scoring Summary:
POR: Langsdorf (Asprilla), 10
POR: Asprilla (Penalty kick), 44
LV: Robinson (Hernandez), 70
POR: Asprilla (Sierakowski), 74

Misconduct Summary
LV: Hernandez (Caution), 22
LV: Torres (Caution), 45+1
LV: Rivas (Caution), 59

POR: GK Leeker, D Hanson, D Jadama, D Miller, D Smith, M Wharton, M Zambrano ©, M Asprilla, M Flores, M Loría (Sierakowski, 46), F Langsdorf (Hurtado, 79)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Sulte, D Ornstil, M Anguiano

TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Asprilla, 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Asprilla, 4); FOULS: 9 (Hurtado, Langsdorf, 2); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 3

LV: GK Olsen ©, D Palafox (Thomas, 72), D Torre, D Robinson, , D Garcia Lopez, M Cruz (Rivas, 58), M Torres (Arguez, 54), M Fehr, M Hernandez, F Tabortetaka, F Parra

Substitutes Not Used: GK Alvarez, M Gonzalez

TOTAL SHOTS: 18 (Hernandez, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Four players tied, 1) FOULS: 20 (Tabortetaka, 4); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 4

Referee: Farhad Dadkho
Assistant Referees: Seth Martin, Baboucarr Jallow
4th Official: Corbyn May
Attendance: 2,124
Weather: Clear, 55 degrees