USL MATCH RECAP | Rio Grande Valley FC: 2, Portland Timbers 2: 1

EDINBURG, Texas – In their USL Championship regular-season finale, T2 fell 2-1 on the road to Rio Grande Valley FC at H-E-B Park on Friday night. Todd Wharton tallied his sixth goal of the season, while Harold Hanson notched his second assist of 2019.  

2019 In Review
T2’s 65 goals scored during the 2019 USL Championship campaign marked a new club record, while Portland’s 38 assists equaled a team record set in 2018. In his first season as a professional, Ryan Sierakowski finished second on the team with eight goals in 32 appearances. Notably, Wharton was the lone player on the roster to appear in all 34 league matches in 2019.

Timbers Academy On Display
Four Timbers Academy products appeared in the match against RGVFC. Notably, Timbers Academy defender Mitchell Ferguson (16 years, 5 months, 19 days) became the youngest player to ever start a match for T2, logging 88 minutes of action in his second appearance of the season. Fifteen-year-old Timbers Academy midfielder Gerardo Durán logged his third appearance of the season as a second-half substitute. Giovanni Calixtro made his 26th appearance of 2019, while Marco Farfan made his 16th start of the USL Championship campaign on loan from the Portland Timbers.

Key Plays
Racing down the right flank, Nathan Smith delivered a cross into the 18-yard box to Calixtro, whose looping header was saved by Rio Grande Valley FC goalkeeper Ben Willis in the fifth minute. Two minutes later, Brayan Hurtado’s low cross from the left wing found Calixtro, but his swiveling shot from the left edge of the penalty area was saved by Willis at the near post.

Rio Grande Valley scored the opening goal of the match in the 15th minute after Deshane Beckford cut onto his left foot from the right wing and curled his shot from the edge of the box into the far corner of the net to give his side a 1-0 advantage.

T2 leveled the match at 1-1 in the 19th minute after Marco Farfan’s cross picked out Harold Hanson near the right end line. Hanson quickly passed the ball into the center of the penalty area to Wharton, who took a touch off his chest and struck a powerful volley past Willis.

RGVFC forward Carlos Small gave his side a 2-1 lead in the 43rd minute after he tapped in a headed pass from close range.

In the 65th minute, Hanson’s low shot from outside the box was saved by Willis.

Continuing to search for an equalizer, Hanson’s shot from distance was deflected to Calixtro inside the penalty area, but his volleyed shot was saved by Willis in the 83rd minute.

Postgame Quote Sheet
T2 head coach Cameron Knowles
On the his thoughts after the regular-season finale…
“It was always going to be difficult playing three games in eight days. It was end to end action throughout the match and the guys can be proud of the way that they continued to fight and create chances right until the final whistle.”

On Mitchell Ferguson’s first career start and the academy players featuring late in the season…
“I thought Mitchell acquitted himself well tonight. He was composed and dealt with difficult situations. He made his debut in the last game and did well, and it was good to see him get the start tonight. Overall, it was good to incorporate the academy players into these important matches at the end of the season and it highlights the good work the academy staff are doing to prepare the players for professional experiences.”

On looking back on the 2019 campaign…
“The guys were good in the attack all season long. We were only shutout twice the entire season, but what hurt us was our goals conceded. We averaged around two goals conceded per game, and that’s not good enough. But the guys battled all year long and we’re proud of their effort.”

T2 (10-16-8, 38pts) at El Paso Locomotive FC (11-15-8, 41pts) 
Oct. 18, 2019 – H-E-B Park (Edinburg, Texas)

Goals by Half                1          2          F
T2                                 1          0          1
Rio Grande Valley FC    2          0          2         

Scoring Summary:
RGV: Beckford (Bird), 15
POR: Wharton (Hanson), 19
RGV: Small (Salazar), 43

Misconduct Summary:
POR: Hurtado (caution), 17
POR: Ornstil (caution), 33
POR: Hanson (caution), 48
POR: Diz Pe (caution), 90+3

POR: GK Leeker, D Smith, D Ferguson (Durán, 88), D Diz Pe, D Farfan ©, M Wharton, M Ornstil, M Hanson, M Calixtro, M Hurtado (Kobayashi, 67), F Sierakowski

Substitutes Not Used: GK Lyon, D Lopez, D Sanchez

TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Hanson, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Calixtro, 3); FOULS: 14 (Ornstil, 3); OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 8

RGV: GK Willis, D Samuels, D Adams, D Donovan ©, D Coronado, M Martinez, M Bird, M Rodríguez (Jackson, 80), F Beckford (Obregón, 45), F Salazar (Cabrera, 88), F Small

Substitutes Not Used: GK Chavero, D Castellanos, D Junqua, M Garza

TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Obregón, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 10 (Obregón, 3); FOULS: 6 (Bird, 3); OFFSIDES: 6; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 4

Referee: Lukasz Szpala
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Weed, Bennett Savage
4th Official: Arturro Ibarra
Attendance: 4,967
Weather: Clear, 72 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial