clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

T2sday (on a Wednesday): A win!

The first victory for Timbers 2 in MLS NEXT Pro.

Diego Diaz//Portland Timbers 2

After a bit of a hiatus, T2sday is back— with a special Wednesday edition! And with an occasion to celebrate: Timbers 2 registered their first victory over the weekend. Plus, the last month’s results.

It has been just a little over a month since we have checked in with Portland Timbers 2, the MLS Next Pro affiliate of the Portland Timbers. And up until last Sunday, admittedly not much had changed on the results front. Throughout most of May and June, T2 dealt with a shortage of players due to injuries and health and safety protocols, played mostly road games, and lost four straight.

Before last Sunday, T2 sat second bottom in the Western Conference MLS Next Pro standings, with four points from ten games played.

That changed Sunday night. T2 still sits second bottom in the standings, but now they have something they’ve been trying for so long to achieve: a win. Timbers 2 registered their first victory in MLS Next Pro in dramatic fashion last Sunday, with an emotional come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Houston Dynamo 2.

But before we break it down, let’s run through T2’s results before that:

5/15 — Timbers 2: 1, Sporting Kansas City II: 2

T2 entered this game with a very depleted roster, having just two players available on the bench for their bout at Hillsboro Stadium. Despite this, T2 played well for most of the game. Carlos Vivas glanced home a recycled corner kick in the second half, and T2 held a 1-0 lead going into the final 17 minutes of the match. It all came undone as SKC II found the equalizer, and despite the visiting side being reduced to ten men they also found the winner in the 88th minute, stealing a win from a tired and depleted T2 side.

Full highlights can be found here.

5/22 — St. Louis City 2: 3, Timbers 2: 1

Timbers 2 conceded early and often to the second place team in the West, as they recorded yet another loss on the road. The hosts scored in just the second minute, after St. Louis found their way through the T2 midfield all too easily. They added two more before all was said and done, though Dawson McCartney did grab a consolation goal for T2 midway through the second half.

Full highlights can be found here.

5/31 — Tacoma Defiance: 3, Timbers 2: 0

T2’s first meeting in over two years with their biggest local rivals wound up being a dud for the Tiny Trees. A Tacoma side that featured a number of players who play with Seattle’s first team proved to be too overwhelming for the young Portland side. Two quick goals for Tacoma midway through the first half punctuated a dominant opening 45 minutes for the hosts, and they coasted to a 3-0 win.

Full highlights can be found here.

6/11 — North Texas SC: 2, Timbers 2: 1

T2’s first outing in June saw an improved performance and determination, despite the result. North Texas, coached by former Timbers defender Pa-Modou Kah, grabbed two quick goals within seven minutes of each other in the first half. But Timbers 2 fought back into the game and came close to scoring on several chances. They found their breakthrough via Jamin Gogo Peters, as he finished off an excellent flowing move for T2 late in the first half. Gogo Peters became joint leader for goals scored on the squad, joining Blake Bodily with four goals to his name.

Despite a late push through the second half T2 unfortunately could not find the equalizer, and one of the top teams in MLS Next Pro held on for the 2-1 win.

Full highlights can be found here.

It was four games and four losses for Timbers 2 as Spring turned to Summer. The young side had ran the gauntlet of tough road venues, limited rosters, and tough results. They gained valuable experience along the way— but couldn’t find points.

In their most recent outing, it finally all came together.

6/20 — Timbers 2: 2, Houston Dynamo 2: 1

Sunday saw Timbers 2 earn their first win in dramatic fashion, scoring two goals in the final ten minutes plus stoppage time in front of a home crowd at Hillsboro Stadium.

With the Timbers first team being the healthiest it has been all season, a large contingent of first team players was loaned down to Timbers 2 for this game. The starting lineup featured a number of first team players, including third-string Timbers goalkeeper Justin Vom Steeg and the likes of Pablo Bonilla, Zac McGraw, and George Fochive. It was a particularly significant night for for Fochive, as he registered his first minutes since suffering an injury early in the year.

The match got off to a rough start for T2, as they found themselves trailing early yet again. On a Houston attacking sequence, a forward was taken down in the box by a late challenge from T2 defender Julian Bravo. The referee pointed to the spot, and moments later Dynamo 2 forward Papa Ndoye sent his spot kick into the roof of the net to give the hosts an early 1-0 lead.

Timbers 2 trailed for much of the match, and peppered the Houston end with 16 total shots throughout the game in search of a goal.

The match turned in the 80th minute, when Dawson McCartney finally found the equalizer for T2. Bravo stepped into the midfield to cause a turnover, and started an offensive sequence down the left wing. The ball ended up crossed towards the back post where McCartney met it with a diving header, pinging the ball off the post and into the back of the net.

Fourteen minutes later, in second half stoppage time, Timbers 2 found the final breakthrough.

David Ayala chased down a deflected cross at the byline, and chipped it back into the box. Big Zac McGraw rose to meet it, and powered it home with his head past the Houston ‘keeper. The ball found the back of the net, McGraw wheeled off in celebration, and the T2 sideline erupted in jubilation.

Minutes later, the final whistle blew and T2’s first MLS Next Pro win became official. They had battled back from 1-0 down to register their first victory in the most dramatic of fashions.

It was a moment of validation for all of the hard work that head coach Shannon Murray’s side had been putting in this year. He has been fielding one of the younger teams in MLS Next Pro— perhaps younger and less experienced than he had envisioned at this stage. And despite the fact that Sunday’s roster featured a number of first team players, it was the togetherness and unity of the side that shown through and won the day for T2.

And don’t take my word for it, take it from the man who scored the game winner himself:

You can see the full match highlights and recap here.

Timbers 2 is next in action on Sunday June 26, when they face Colorado Rapid 2 at Hillsboro Stadium at 7 p.m. Pacific.