The Portland Timbers U23s celebrate Mark Sherrod's 3rd minute goal. Photo by Jeremiah Mitchell Braeback.
(UPDATED TO INCLUDE DATES AND TIMES OF PLAYOFF MATCHES)
GLADSTONE, ORE - Same teams, different results. With a spot in the PDL Western Conference Semifinals on the line, the Portland Timbers U23s proved to be the strong side as they move on following their 2-1 victory over a familiar foe in the Kitsap Pumas.
Both teams came out ready for a fight, and that's exactly what they got. Much like their match last Sunday, both teams came out looking to throw their weight around. Unlike that match, Portland drew first blood. In the 3rd minute a long throw-in by Anthony Hobbs found Mark Sherrod, who headed it in for his 11th goal of the season. Kitsap was quick to respond though, adding a goal of their own in the 7th minute off a scrum in front of the net that was put in by Zach Sampson.
The game settled down, through remaining very physical for the next 62 minutes, as both teams pressed each other with several solid chances. As Portland pressed on the attack, Mark Sherrod sent the ball into Roberto Farfan, who lofted the ball home from the top of the penalty area for his 2nd goal of the season.
Kitsap wasn't going to give up though. As they pressed on, they had several solid chances, but were unable to find the net either by solid clearances by the Portland defense and goalkeeper Spencer Richey. As the game was nearing the final whistle, the frustration level boiled over for Kitsap, as head coach James Richie was tossed in the 88th minute by referee Farhad Dadko after being in the ear of the 4th official for the majority of the match.
Portland continues on in the PDL Western Conference Semifinals as they head to Ventura, California to take on the Southwest Division Champion Ventura County Fusion (12-2-2, 38pts)
later this week this Saturday at 5:00pm. They will be joined by Northwest Division and Cascadian rival Seattle Sounders U23s, who will take on FC Tucson (9-3-4, 31pts.) later in the day at 7:30pm. Both the semifinals and finals will take place in Ventura on Sunday at 5:00. The winners of the 4 Conference Playoffs will then be paired and face each other to determine the PDL finalists.
- Portland wins the season series 2-1-1 and are now 2-0-0 in the postseason against Kitsap.
- Portland improved to 7-2-0 at home this season and are 4-2-2 on the road.
- Portland now leads the all-time series 5-3-3
- Mark Sherrod's 11 goals this season moves him up in the 10+ goal club, where he has joined Ryan Youngblood (2009) and Brent Richards (2010).
- Zach Sampson's goal was the only goal not scored by Ben Truax against Portland, who scored 3.
- The Timbers U23s are undefeated at 4-0-0 in postseason play. Both tonight's match and their 2009 loss to Seattle Wolves were play-in games for the opportunity to play in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Northwest Division is the only division with a 4-team play-in round in the PDL.
- The last time the Timbers U23s made the playoffs, they won the 2010 PDL Championship.
- With 1,052 in attendance, Portland pushed their record-setting attendance number to 24,131 and average of 2,682 over 9 home matches this season, including a PDL record 8,029 on May 26 against Kitsap, which was broken a week later on June 1, when 8,174 attended the match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC U23s