PORTLAND TIMBERS U23S v. VENTURA COUNTY FUSION
JULY 21, 2012 at 5:00PM
VENTURA COLLEGE SPORTSPLEX, VENTURA, CA
BROADCAST INFO: KadyTV
In their Western Conference Semifinal match up, the Portland Timbers U23s head to Ventura, California to face off with Southwest Conference champion Ventura County Fusion in a match up of two of the last three PDL Champions, with the Fusion winning in all in 2009 and the Timbers U23s capping off their undefeated 2010 season with the league crown.
Portland comes in having won two of their biggest games of the year, 3-0 over Washington Crossfire to secure 2nd in the division as well as a coveted berth in the 2013 U.S. Open Cup and their 2-1 victory over rival Kitsap Pumas, ending their title defense while securing their place in the semifinals.
To gain a better understanding of the Fusion, I reached out to Ventura County Star soccer writer, who had this to say about the Fusion:
The Fusion play a passing, attacking style not unlike what I imagine MLS U23s like the Timbers and Sounders attempt to play. They led the PDL in goals for much of the season (before being overtaken by the Michigan Bucks at the death) and have a Top 6 defensive record as well.
They've constantly had to adapt their team throughout the year because of defections to professional teams. Defender Daniel Steres, a Chivas USA draft pick, signed with Seattle midway through the season. The leading goalscorer and playmaker in franchise history, Danny Barrera, just signed with Eric Wynalda's Atlanta Silverbacks. Former Chivas de Guadalajara youth player Rodrigo Lopez, the 2009 PDL playoff MVP, just signed with the Orlando City Lions of USL Pro. Yet they showed their depth by winning their last three matches of the season to win the Southwest Division by seven points and earn the right to host this weekend by winning the Western Conference's top seed.
The names to know include Gyasi Zardes, the Cal State Bakersfield goalscorer who should be a Hermann Trophy favorite this fall, striker Travis Bowen, whose younger brother plays for Chivas USA; UCLA striker Victor Chavez; former Portland Timbers U23 attacker Frankie Lopez; former UC Santa Barbara fullback and MLS draft pick James Kiffe; Jamaican youth international Jamiel Hardware and UCLA goalkeeper Earl Edwards.
Thank you, Joe, for the information.
- Portland is led by F Mark Sherrod with 11 goals and . M Cam Vickers added 8 assists and GK Spencer Richey had 10 wins to his credit, as well as 3 clean sheets. All were among the PDL leaders.
- Ventura County is lead by F Gyasi Zerdes with 8 goals, along with McMinnville-native F Frankie Lopez, who scored 6 goals while adding 8 assists in 15 appearances. Lopez also played for the Timbers U23s in 2009.
- This match features two of the most potent offenses and stiff defenses. Portland scored 35 goals while only allowing 16, while Ventura County tied for the league lead with 42 goals while conceding 13.
- Portland is 5-1-0 all-time in the playoffs.
- Portland and Ventura County have never met, though Ventura County did face the Portland Timbers first team in a preseason match in 2011.
- Both teams are two of the most successful in recent seasons. Portland has 3 playoff appearances, 1 PDL title, 1 Northwest Division title, and 2 second place finishes, and one appearance in the U.S. Open Cup since joining the PDL in 2009. Ventura County has 4 playoff appearances, 1 PDL title, 2 Southwest Division titles, a 2nd place finish, and 2 U.S. Open Cup appearances since joining in 2007.
- In the other Western Conference Semifinal, FC Tucson will face Seattle Sounders U23s Saturday at 7:30, follow the completion of the Timbers U23s/Fusion match.
- The winners of Saturday's matches will face off at 5:00pm in Ventura, to determine the Western Conference Champion and representative in next weekend's PDL Semifinals.
Additional Coverage of Western Conference Semifinals-