It might seem fitting that our old friend narrative has come along this weekend and reared its head. In Ohio, it was a team and location in which we won MLS Cup that put an end to the first team’s unblemished record. In Portland, it was a Timber who scored the game winner, for his new team.
T2 opened 2017 much like 2016, with a loss, dropping a 2-1 result to Real Monarchs SLC at Providence Park in front of 2,600 supporters. The Monarchs are coached by Mike Petke this season. However, with an absence in the first team staff, that might not be for too long. And Petke starts his USL side off with a road win.
The Monarchs were the better side for much of the match. And T2 were particularly lucky to only be down 1-0 at the break. Monarchs defender James Mosberg got a header to a corner kick and put the visitors up 1-0 in the 11th minute. And outside of a decent shot or two flashing wide of goal, T2 had nothing to give going forward in the first 45. But credit to T2 for keeping it a one goal game through a half where the visitors continually turned the ball over and immediately ran at the T2 backline with 5 or 6 players in lightning quick transitions.
The second half began just as the first half ended, with the Monarchs pushing hard and having command of the field. It did not take the visitors long to get another goal. In the 48th minute former Timber, and now captain of the Real Monarchs, Nick Besler, put his side up 2-0. He collected a loose ball at the penalty spot following a set piece and tapped it into the net. Augustine Williams opened the 2017 season in the 64th minute by being aware of his surroundings and pouncing on a horrid goalkeeper mistake. Monarchs keeper Putna rolled the ball on the ground to one of his defenders but the ball bounced off the back of the players leg. With the keeper in a bit of a shock and the defender looking around for the ball, Williams picked it up and immediately powered the ball into the net to give the home side some life.
And T2 certainly looked more lively after the goal. From the 65th minute onward, key T2 players like Blake Bodily and Villyan Bijev finally started to find the space they needed to have some influence on the game. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as both sides looked pretty gassed by the 80th minute.
I certainly wasn’t expecting to see any academy players get bench time right away, let alone get some minutes. But I was wrong. Timbers Academy midfielder Jacob Montes, who had been called up with Marco Farfan last season to a US youth training camp, subbed into the match at the 73rd minute. It’s difficult to say anything regarding his performance given the few minutes played, but he didn’t appear out of place. The key here is another academy player has worked his way into a T2 appearance that could turn into more. And we still have more potential academy talent behind him.
Currently leading scorer for T2! But seriously, even though the result was not there, it’s always good to see your striker get a goal. Particularly one as amusing as his was. He got a goal vs University of Portland and got the lone goal in the opener. So it is definitely heartening to have the guy who is going to be expected to get a lot of goals this season get off on the right foot.
It’ll be a short rest for T2 as they travel to Kansas City to face Swope Park Rangers, led by Kharlton Belmar, this Wednesday, March 29th, at 5:30pm pacific. T2 then round out the week with a trip to Starfire to face S2 on Sunday, April 2nd, at 2:00pm pacific.