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T2 ties El Paso in Providence Park soft opening

Bennett Dewan

Soccer was back at Providence Park Saturday night, but Dairon Asprilla’s fifth goal in four games was not enough to celebrate the soft opening with a win as T2 and El Paso Locomotive tied, 1-1.

The brand-new east stand remained closed, and it looks like there may still be some finishing touches that need to be made before the first Timbers game in the renovated stadium next Saturday, June 1.

Down on the field, Asprilla turned in another strong performance for T2, finishing his own saved penalty and looking typically energetic on the wing. Cristian Ojeda, who relieved Marvin Loria in the 57th minute, was also bright for Portland. He came closest to breaking the deadlock in the second half, rattling the crossbar on a curling shot in the 65th minute and missing just wide right in stoppage time.

It was a scrappy, physical first half under a light rain at Providence Park, a half which yielded little in the way of dangerous opportunities for either side and still produced two goals.

After a disjointed first ten minutes, it was Portland that looked the more comfortable, getting into good positions but failing to hit the target. The best chance came on a low, driven corner that found Asprilla seven yards out, but he skied his effort.

Portland’s high press was causing El Paso’s possession-heavy style some problems, and the pressure finally paid off in the 39th minute as Foster Langsdorf intercepted a pass in the Locomotive penalty area and a clumsy challenge from El Paso’s Bryam Rebellion brought him down.

Asprilla stepped up to take the penalty. His shot was low and not far enough to the left, and was saved by Locomotive goalkeeper Logan Ketterer. Asprilla was first to the rebound and made no mistake the second time, giving T2 a 1-0 lead.

The lead was short-lived, however. At the stroke of halftime, El Paso’s Omar Salgado collected a pass from Sebastian Contreras at the top of the T2 box, skipped past his defender and calmly deposited his shot low and to the right to even the score at the break.

T2 nearly took the lead right back in the opening minutes of the second half as Brayan Hurtado showed a burst of pace to break into the penalty area, but his shot was blocked by a last-ditch tackle.

Hurtado had another chance in the 83rd minute, but his headed attempt from a looping cross went high from close range.

Salgado had a chance to steal the points for the visitors late. Salgado got the better of Marco Farfan and sprinted in on goal but his effort from a tight angle was saved by Kendall McIntosh.