In what can only be described as a scene taken from the cutting room floor of the Shawshank Redemption, the Portland Timbers 2 defeated the 4th division, USL PDL side, Michigan
State Penitentiary Bucks 2-0 to secure their first ever victory in the US Open Cup.
Almost all of the first team loanees to T2 were recalled in order to prevent anyone from getting cap-tied to the Timbers 2 in the 2015 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournament. And the starting lineup included all T2 players: Luthy; Richards, Clarke, Delbridge, Rose; Payne, Gavin, Fatawu, Winchester; Biglieri, Belmar.
The game was played at Ultimate Soccer Arenas (The Largest Indoor Soccer Arena In The World *trademark pending) in Pontiac, Michigan. The first half was scoreless. Both sides saw a few chances but the 4th division hosts probably had the better opportunities. It was the first start for Biglieri but unfortunately it was cut short due to a likely injury picked up in or around the 30th minute. T2 had to burn a substitution early on and replaced Biglieri with Seth Casiple around the 31st or 32nd minute.
The substitute Seth Casiple, making his T2 debut appearance helped spark some second half action that secured the result for T2. In the 56th minute Casiple sent in a pin point cross to the team's leading goal scorer, Kharlton Belmar. He was able to get his head to it and put the header down and into the far corner for the go-ahead goal. It was good execution and a nice simple goal. And it allowed T2 to make the Bucks chase the game and start to tire themselves out.
As the game reached second half stoppage time it appeared that T2 would be able to hold on for a 1-0 win despite the last 10 minutes or so of high pressure from the Bucks trying to get the equalizer to force extra time. Seconds from the final whistle the Bucks were all caught too far forward and T2 had a 3-on-1 counterattack heading right towards their goal. Seth Casiple got his second assist of the night when he dribbled the ball until the keeper was forced to make a decision and then passed it off to Fatawu Safiu for the easy open net tap in and the dagger in the hearts of the opposition.
The 2-0 win over the Michigan Bucks sees the Timbers 2 move on to the Third Round of the US Open Cup. They will play the winner of the Sounders 2/Kitsap Pumas match that occurs tomorrow evening. If Sounders 2 defeat the Kitsap Pumas, they will host T2 in the third round. However, if Kitsap can defeat Sounders 2, then we will get the pleasure of a Providence Park double header match on Wednesday May 27th. With T2 hosting the Pumas at 4:00pm ahead of the first team Timbers hosting DC United at 7:30pm.
After tonight's win, T2 returns home and will play at Merlo Field this Friday, May 22nd, hosting Cascadia rival Sounders 2 at 7:00pm.