Timbers U23s GK Spencer Richey faced little pressure in the first half, but had to hold off a late push from Washington Crossfire. Photo by Jeremiah Mitchell Braeback.
CAMAS, WASHINGTON - The Portland Timbers U23s (9-3-2, 29pts.) knew they needed to come out and take control early, and that's exactly what they did. Needing only 1 point to clinch a spot in the PDL playoffs, the Timbers U23s had their sights set on hosting a play in game. With their 1-0 victory over Washington Crossfire (8-6-1, 25pts.) in front of 2,056 on Mark Sherrod's 10th goal of the season in the 69th minute, they placed themselves in a good position to be in control of their own destiny as they close out the season.
From the opening whistle, they had Washington on their heels controlling much of the possession in the attacking third and having several solid chances but were unable to hit the back of the net. As the Timbers U23s pressed on, the game became more physical as Washington tried to push back, with several fouls called on both sides and a 26st minute yellow card issued to Washington's Junior Sanchez on a reckless challenge near midfield. The Timbers U23s were unfazed and continue to press on, easily containing the counterattack. Washington's best chance may have been an 11th minute free kick just outside the 18 yard box that was easily taken care of by the Timbers U23s defense. After the first half, the shots were 9-1 in favor of the Timbers U23s
Coming out of half time, it looked like a completely different game. Washington came out strong and had several early chances that were taken care of by Timbers U23s goalkeeper Spencer Richey. While Washington was looking to break through, it was the Timbers U23s who scored the only goal on a counterattack. Racing up the right flank, midfielder Nicolas Hamer delivered a pinpoint cross to the head of Mark Sherrod, who easily put it in the back of the net in the 69th minute. Washington then made a succession of subs, hoping to break through, which they almost did on a 89th minute goal that was called back on a offsides call by the nearside official, much to the dismay of Washington, who believed it was a good goal.
- With the victory, the Timbers U23s move into a 2nd place tie at 29 points with Kitsap Pumas. With a victory Sunday, the Timbers U23s will secure at least 2nd place in the Northwest Divsion. Kitsap fell to Seattle Sounders U23s 2-1 in Bremerton, WA. Seattle currently sit in 1st place with a record of 9-2-3, 30 points. Washington sits at 4th place.
- The season series is tied at 1-1-0, with Washington winning 2-1 on June 6 in Redmond, WA. The teams will face each other in the regular season finales for both teams Wednesday in Redmond.
- The Timbers U23s home record is now 6-1-0 and 3-2-2 on the road.
- Mark Sherrod became the third Timbers U23s player to join the 10 goals club, joining Ryan Youngblood (2009) and current Timbers first teamer Brent Richards (2010).
- Spencer Richey recorded his 3rd shutout of the season.
- Defender Chris Harms missed the game due to receiving a red card at the end of the match versus Victoria Highlanders. Despite the ejection, Harms was named honorable mention on the PDL team of the week, along with teammate Erik Hurtado.
- Erik Miller made his first appearance since May 26. He was injured during a call up with the US U-20 National Team.
- In their final home game of the season, the Timbers U23s will face the Kitsap Pumas, the 2011 PDL Champions, on Sunday at 6:00PM at Hare Field in Hillsboro. In their first meeting the season on May 24 at JELD-WEN Field, Portland crushed Kitsap 4-0. In the second meeting on June 9 in Bremerton, Kitsap and Portland traded goals in a 2-2 draw,
- This game marks the second doubleheader with the Portland Timbers U23s and the Portland Rain (4-2-2, 14pts.), who currently sit tied for first place in the WPSL Northwest Division. The Rain will take on the Spokane Shine (2-2-2, 8pts) at 3:00PM.