PORTLAND, Ore. – After falling behind by a goal in the second half, T2 battled back with a stoppage-time equalizer from Nathan Smith to earn a 2-2 draw in front of 3,513 fans at Providence Park on Sunday afternoon. Todd Wharton tallied his second goal of the season and Ryan Sierakowski registered his second assist as T2 extended their unbeaten run to five matches.
Run of form
With the result, Portland extended its unbeaten run to five matches (2-0-3), dating back to May 12. T2 have outscored their opponents 11-7 during that stretch. Portland is 1-0-2 at home, while going 1-0-1 on the road during the five-match unbeaten run.
Smith registered his first goal of the season and his first career goal for T2, since joining the club at the beginning of the 2018 season. Additionally, goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic, on loan from the Portland Timbers, logged four saves in his first appearance of 2019.
Early on, Smith whipped a cross inside the penalty area to Dairon Asprilla, but Asprilla’s header at the near post missed inches over the crossbar in the fourth minute. Seven minutes later, Wharton fed the ball to Asprilla in space at the top of the box, but his low shot missed to the left of the target. In the 16th minute, Brayan Hurtado’s shot from a tight angle inside the penalty area was saved by Fresno FC goalkeeper C.J. Cochran at the near post.
Just before halftime, Cristian Ojeda’s free-kick service found Foster Langsdorf inside the box, but his header was saved by Cochran in the center of the goal in the 44th minute.
Portland took a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute after Hurtado was fouled inside the penalty area. Wharton’s ensuing penalty kick was fired past Cochran for his second goal of 2019. The penalty-kick finish from Wharton marked T2’s fifth goal from the penalty spot in 2019.
Fresno FC leveled the match shortly after when Elijah Martin was released in behind the T2 defense and finished into the lower left corner of the net in the 53rd minute.
T2 nearly scored in the 56th minute when Ojeda’s free-kick service at the far post found Modou Jadama, but his header missed past the post. Six minutes later, Wharton played a long ball into the box to Hurtado, who controlled the ball in stride before firing a left-footed volley that was palmed aside by Cochran in the 62nd minute.
Fresno took a 2-1 advantage when Qudus Lawal found the back of the net from inside the box at the near post in the 68th minute.
Looking to answer back, Smith’s powerful shot from distance was tipped onto the crossbar by Cochran in the 73rd minute. One minute later, a loose ball inside the box fell to Hurtado, but his left-footed shot missed to the left of the post.
Portland almost scored when Ojeda’s in-swinging corner kick was flicked by Langsdorf to Roy Miller at the back post, but his header flashed inches past the target in the 78th minute. After Sierakowski’s shot was blocked inside the box in the 89th minute, the rebound fell to Wharton, who was rushing in from midfield, but his hard shot missed inches to the left of the post.
T2 tied the match at 2-2 in stoppage time when Sierakowski flicked the ball just outside the six-yard box to Smith, who poked his shot underneath Cochran in the 92nd minute.
Next up, T2 will travel to face Orange County SC at Champion Soccer Stadium on Saturday, June 22. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. (Pacific), the match will be streamed live on ESPN+.
Postgame Quote Sheet
T2 Head Coach Cameron Knowles
General thoughts on the match...
"I think the biggest issue is we scored a goal and then we let them back into the game and got punished for a couple of mistakes. I think when you look at the balance of the second half and some of the chances we had, it's really encouraging because we had some good chances from inside the box and again we found ourselves in a position where we were behind and we had the character and the quality to make sure that we got a result. We obviously feel like we dropped points, but still, to come back and get a draw is a great result."
On Nathan Smith's late goal...
"I think we have a lot of guys that are capable of that moment in the game for us and we needed someone to finish those chances. We had a couple of those chances missed throughout the second half and to finally put one away I think we deserved that. And I was really pleased for [Smith]; he struck that very, very well."
On the upcoming match against Orange County FC...
"We say it every week in regards to the table – it's difficult, there's a lot of pressure on results and it's close. Every win, every draw is going to be very, very important. We've shown that we are a good team on the road. We've scored a lot of goals on the road and we've got a lot of points on the road so we need to be able to balance it out and get our guys healthy and put together a good plan to win."
T2 (6-2-6, 24pts) vs. Fresno FC (5-2-7, 22pts)
Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
T2 0 2 2
Fresno FC 0 2 2
POR: Wharton (penalty kick), 47
FRS: Martin (Johnson), 53
FRS: Lawal (Johson), 68
POR: Smith (Sierakowski), 90+2
POR: Asprilla (caution), 45+2
FRS: Kurimoto (caution), 66
POR: Langsdorf (caution), 72
FRS: Cochran (caution), 73
POR: GK Ivacic, D Hanson (Calixtro, 88), D Jadama ©, D Miller, D Smith, M Anguiano, M Wharton, M Asprilla (Loría, 46), M Ojeda, M Hurtado (Sierakowski, 74), F Langsdorf
Substitutes Not Used: GK Lyon, D Diz Pe, D Ornstil, M Kobayashi
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Hurtado, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Hurtado, Smith, 2); FOULS: 11 (Three players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 4
FRS: GK Cochran, D Ellis-Hayden, D Martin, D Del Campo, D Daly, D Strong, M Moses (Kurimoto, 26) M Caffa ©, M Basuljevic, M Johnson (Bustamente, 74), F Lawal (Chavez, 82)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Howard, M Alihodzic, M Casillas, F Chaney
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Lawal, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Johnson, 2); FOULS: 19 (Ellis-Hayden, Strong, 4); OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 4
Referee: Elton Garcia
Assistant Referees: Baboucarr Jallow, Jeremy Davis
4th Official: Ian Miller
Weather: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial