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T2sday: A loss in a Houston and early season standouts

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Welcome back to T2sday! Your weekly recap of the results and goings-on of Portland Timbers 2, the Timbers reserve team playing in the MLS NEXT Pro reserve league, delivered every Tuesday.

This week: T2 falls in Texas, and who has been standing out for the team so far?


4/16: Houston Dynamo 2 vs. Portland Timbers 2: 4-1

While the Portland Timbers first team might have found a modicum of success in Houston with a scoreless draw against the Dynamo, Portland Timbers 2 was not as fortunate.

T2 fell flat on the same field the first team played on just hours before they did, and dropped a result to the first place Houston Dynamo 2 (impressively nicknamed DynaDos) by the scoreline of 4-1.

The game was significant as, for the first time in the MLS NEXT Pro season, T2’s roster was filled with primarily T2 and academy players. For the three games the developmental side has played thus far, there have been a plethora of first team players loaned down to round out the roster. Due to the timing of the game, (it kicked off just hours after the MLS game did) that was not as possible this match. The only two first team players loaned down were Blake Bodily and Hunter Sulte. Neither of the two were named to the first team earlier that day, so it suggests that they were always intended to get minutes last weekend with the Tiny Trees.

*Once again, a reminder that number 72 listed above is SuperDraft pick Julian Bravo — not Claudio Bravo.

The scoring got started in the 28th minute when Dynamo 2 attacker Marcelo Palomino worked his way away from his defender and buried a low shot past Sulte. Houston added a second just before halftime, when Papa Ndoye was first to a through ball, and slipped it past Sulte to double the hosts’ advantage.

Out of halftime, T2 scrapped one back to try to make things interesting. Selmir Miscic, a 19 year old midfielder, who spent time in the Philadelphia Union academy system, drove into the Houston box on a slaloming run. He passed to Jamin Gogo Peters, and the forward quickly gave the ball back to Miscic with a nifty backheel. Miscic was taken down by a sliding Dynamo 2 defender before he could get his shot away, and the referee pointed to the spot and awarded a penalty kick to T2.

Bodily stepped up, and buried the penalty shot in the bottom corner to make it 2-1.

The comeback was short-lived however, as Dynamo 2 quickly added a third goal in the 59th minute with a shot from distance by current MLS NEXT Pro leading scorer Roberto Avila. Dynamo 2 added the finishing touch with a fourth goal in the 88th minute to put the affair to bed.

It was a rough outing for Shannon Murray’s young side, but it must be mentioned that their opponents are the current class of the league. Dynamo 2 are currently the top team in MLS NEXT Pro, undefeated and have yet to drop any points in their four games played. They remained perfect on Saturday, and showed their quality while doing so.

You can view full highlights and the match report here.

Early Season Standouts

Despite that fact that T2 has yet to win three points in a match, there have been some players that have stood out for their performances thus far.

Blake Bodily, first team Homegrown player, has acted as captain in every T2 game thus far. He notched his second goal of the season on Saturday, and leads the team in goals in this very young MLS NEXT Pro season. He also leads the teams in shots, shots on target, and key passes. In short, he has been the standout offensive player for T2 so far.

The face of the man who stirs the drink for the Tiny Trees.
Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

The fact that Bodily is standing out offensively for T2 shouldn’t necessarily be a surprise, as he is one of the players on the roster with the most first team experience. But for a player that has never really gotten a run out with the first team, it’s encouraging to see him find offensive success with T2, even if the results haven’t been there yet.

Outside of Bodily, the only other player who has scored is academy player Jamin Gogo Peters. The forward scored T2’s first goal of the season two weeks ago against Whitecaps 2, and made the slick backheel in the game last weekend to earn the penalty. He’s young, only 18 years of age, but he’s shown flashes of danger in the box. He could potentially be one of the talents to watch develop on T2 this year, and in years to come.

As for the defensive side… well it’s been a rough go for a team that has now conceded eight goals over three games played. T2 is a team that is forming its defensive identity, and is clearly still gelling defensively.

One of the only constants in the back has been Homegrown goalkeeper Hunter Sulte. While not boasting the best goals against number, Sulte has made 14 saves so far this season. When considering the number of shots he’s faced, that is a respectable number. It is fair to wonder if T2’s goals against number would be even larger were it not for Sulte in the back.

T2 is clearly a work in progress and has a lot of development to do but at the end of the day, that’s their goal. The team exists to win games, of course, but it also exists to help prepare players with potential develop and prove they are ready to step into the first team environment. Players like Gogo Peters or Sulte, who may one day have a role to play on the first team, are getting the chance to get professional minutes and learn. And a player like Bodily, who has been on the fringes of the first team for a season or so now, is getting the chance to prove that he has the quality to be ready to step into Giovanni Savarese’s side and provide an impact.



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Match Recap & Highlights: Portland Timbers 0 – 2 Philadelphia Union

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After a defensive collapse midweek against the San Jose Earthquakes, the Portland Timbers drop a second game in five days with a 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union. Philadelphia opened the scoring in the fifth-minute via a Daniel Gazdag overhead kick that caught Aljaz Ivacic flat-footed on his goal line. The Timbers would then have to replace an injured Eryk Williamson in the 14th minute with Santiago Moreno.

After a disjointed opening 25 minutes to the half the Timbers grew into the game decently, bolstered by the lively play of Moreno. But despite the Timbers working their way back into the match, the Union doubled their lead in the 48th minute through a Sergio Santos header. Sebastian Blanco thought he had pulled a goal back for the Timbers in the 69th minute, but after a lengthy VAR review, the goal was disallowed for an offside in the buildup.

In the end, the two goals were enough for the Union to leave Providence Park with all three points.

  • 5’ The Timbers started the game in the worst possible way when Daniel Gazdag scored an overhead kick within five minutes of the game’s start.
  • The next 10 minutes were one-way Philly traffic, and the Timbers were lucky not to concede another in that span. To make matters worse, Eryk Williamson went down with an injury in the 14th minute and had to be replaced by Santiago Moreno.
  • 18’ Nathan Harriel was shown the first yellow card of the match for the Union for a poor foul on Sebastian Blanco.
  • 21’ The Union should have made it 2-0 when Julian Carranza got a free-header onto a floated cross into the box. Fortunately for Portland, the chance went sailing over the bar.
  • 27’ The Timbers’ best chance of the first half came from Bill Tuiloma just before the half-hour mark. A poor corner from Yimmi Chara hit the first man, but possession was regained by Moreno who then floated a wonderful cross to the center back, but the Timbers’ top-scorer couldn’t direct his header on target.
  • 42’ The Timbers again went close to scoring just before halftime and again the creative spark was Santiago Moreno. The forward received the ball on the edge of the box after a well-worked team move, but couldn’t keep his curling shot under the bar.
  • 43’ Diego Chara received a yellow card for a foul on Jose Martinez.
  • 45+5’ Justin Rasmussen received the ball on his left and un-corked a strike from outside the box, but couldn’t get the placement right and the shot sailed out for a goal kick.
  • The first half ended Timbers 0 – Union 1, with Philadelphia out-shooting the Timbers 10-3 despite Portland controlling just-shy of 66 percent of the possession.
  • 48’ The Union began the second half just as they started the match and doubled their lead through a Sergio Santos header to make the score 2-0 in favor of the visitors.
  • 66’ Justin Rasmussen and Cristhian Paredes were replaced by Larrys Mabiala and Marvin Loria. The Timbers switched to three at the back after the changes, with Josecarlos Van Rankin and Marvin Loria playing as the wing backs.
  • 69’ Just when it looked like another night where the Timbers failed to find the back of the net, Sebastian Blanco pulled a goal back for the Timbers after a shot from Moreno rebounded directly into his path. However, upon VAR review, the goal was disallowed for offside in the buildup.
  • 80’ David Ayala entered the match for Van Rankin.
  • 90’ The Timbers’ top-scorer Bill Tuiloma nearly made it 2-1 in the final minute of regular time, but Union ‘keeper Andre Blake pulled out a massive stop to keep his clean sheet in-tact.
  • Six minutes of stoppage time were added to the end of the second half after the lengthy VAR review for Blanco’s disallowed goal.
  • 90+6’ Zac McGraw replaced Dario Zuparic deep into stoppage time.
  • The game finished 2-0 in favor of the Union.

The Timbers travel across the country for their next fixture against Inter Miami on Saturday, May 28. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00.



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Portland Timbers shut down by Philadelphia Union in 2-0 home defeat; coach Giovanni Savarese rumored to be joining Venezia

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In a showcase of one of Major League Soccer’s top defensive sides, the Philadelphia Union locked down the Portland Timbers 2-0 on Sunday night at Providence Park.

“A frustrating result,” Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said. “What differentiated this game from one team to the other is Philadelphia scored two goals, and we couldn’t find the net. We have created chances, but at the end of the day, they took advantage of the two or three moments that they had. Philly is a difficult team to play against. If you don’t have a constant energy, they never stop. Credit to them to the fact they found two goals that was the decisive separation for them.”

The Union (6-1-6, 24 points) dominated the shorthanded Timbers (3-5-6, 15 points) in the first half, displaying why they are the leading team in the Eastern Conference with stifling defensive play all night. Philadelphia opened the scoring early, too, in a spectacular moment.

Daniel Gazdag’s bicycle kick made it 1-0 Union early, silencing the Providence Park crowd.

Philadelphia continued to lurk in the attacking third, but nothing came of their immediate chances. In the 15th minute, the Timbers suffered what could be a serious loss as midfielder Eryk Williamson came off the field due to injury, shaking his head in frustration. He was replaced by Santiago Moreno.

“Sometimes, you come to a moment when it hits you,” Savarese said. “All of the sudden you have injuries, you have health situations that prevent you from having a full roster. It’s frustrating not to have everybody available. Eryk I don’t think will be available for this weekend (against Miami). He was very smart to come out of the game before he suffered something more difficult to handle. I think it will be something that won’t be too long.”

At 23 minutes in, the Union led 8-0 in shots. Portland’s first shot of the night came on a Bill Tuiloma header in the 27th minute on the feed from Moreno, but it went wide left.

In the 41st minute, Moreno had an ambitious take of his own from just outside the box, and it ended up just high of goal.

A moment of intense disagreement arrived in the 44th minute as Diego Chara was given a yellow card for a challenge in which he led with his head, and multiple players from both teams jawed at one another (and the officials) in the aftermath.

“I feel frustrated in that moment,” Diego Chara said. “In my opinion, it was a 50-50 ball, and we crashed. I don’t know why I got that. It’s a target always from the referees when they give me a yellow card. I didn’t deserve that yellow card, but it’s nothing to do.”

The match officials described Chara’s card as a “reckless challenge.”

Portland went into halftime looking outmatched on every level. That trend continued in the opening minutes of the second half.

Philadelphia doubled its lead in the 48th minute on a header from Sergio Santos, making it 2-0 Union as the road side’s defense continued to limit anything Portland tried to put together.

In the 65th minute, Portland brought on Larrys Mabiala and Marvin Loría to replace Justin Rasmussen and Cristhian Paredes. The Timbers’ attack soon found renewed life as Loría pushed the ball ahead to Moreno, whose shot was saved.

Unfortunately for the Union, the ball fell right to the feet of Sebastian Blanco, who put it in the back of the net in the 69th minute. It was called a goal initially and Philadelphia’s lead appeared halved, but after further review by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), it was disallowed due to offsides.

“Santiago Moreno was in an offside position when his teammate Josecarlos Van Rankin heads the ball to him,” the match officials said postgame. “The VAR was trying to establish if indeed, there was a touch by Josecarlos Van Rankin. Once the VAR found an angle which allowed him to confirm this touch, he recommended a review for an offside offence (sic) in the build up to the goal.”

In the 80th minute, Portland brought on youngster David Ayala for Josecarlos Van Rankin, adding another attacking talent as it desperately sought to break through for a goal.

Yimmi Chara had a chance from close range in the 86th minute, and Tuiloma had one of his own in the 90th minute, but both were saved. Beyond that, Portland had little to offer in the way of dangerous comeback scoring attempts. Philadelphia simply parked the bus in the second half, and the Timbers couldn’t often see past it, despite 12 shots and 11 corners. Philadelphia had the same number of shots and just five corners.

“Difficult match,” Diego Chara said. “We tried to win the game, but it was going in the wrong way. Philly did a good job. For us, it was difficult when we conceded that goal in the (5th) minute, and that changed our plans.”

Portland’s next match is Saturday on the road at Miami. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT (TV on Fox 12 Plus).

Savarese to Venezia?

Before kickoff Sunday night, Italian journalist Nicolò Schira reported that Italian club Venezia has selected Savarese as its new manager. The Timbers, in response to this report, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that “Gio (Savarese) is under contract for 1.5 more years and we have not been contacted by Venezia.”

After the match against Philadelphia, Savarese didn’t provide a clear yes or no answer to The Oregonian/OregonLive’s question about the report.

“I’d rather talk about the game today,” Savarese said. “This is the most important thing. I am the coach of the Portland Timbers, and this was a tough game to digest.”

To a follow-up question asking if he’d been in contact with Venezia, Savarese replied, “I’d rather stay on the game. I think that’s the most important part for today.”

— Ryan Clarke, rclarke@oregonian.com





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Pride Make Late Rally But Fall To Chicago Red Stars, 4-2

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ORLANDO, Fla. (May 22, 2022) – Orlando Pride (2-2-1, 5 points) fell by a score of 4-2 to the Chicago Red Stars (2-1-0, 6 points) on Sunday night at Exploria Stadium, in what served as the side’s third game in eight days. 

The Pride scored two goals in the second half, first from the head of defender Amy Turner and then the foot of forward Leah Pruitt, both notching their first goals as a member of the Pride. Orlando had an opportunity to add another in the 81st-minute, but Sydney Leroux’s penalty attempt was stopped by Alyssa Naeher. 

Goalkeeper Erin McLeod finished with five saves on the night. 

Orlando Pride Head Coach Amanda Cromwell:

“Obviously, we had tired legs. We had three games this week and they did not. There is still no excuse for that. We rested players [at the midweek] so we would be ready for this game. We had multiple players get minutes on the Wednesday game. The lack of energy is inexcusable. I really want to apologize to our home crowd because they deserve better when they come out to see us. You saw some of that energy at the end when we get two goals and also had a penalty. Their penalty, I don’t know, I was too far away to see really what happened. Even with all that, it is a penalty or a non-penalty away from being three-three, which is crazy.”

11’ – Sarah Griffith (Vanessa DiBernardo) – CHI 1, ORL 0

The Red Stars opened the scoring early after the ball was played through to Vanessa DiBernardo who took it to the end line and cut it across the face of the goal. Sarah Griffith was there and had her initial shot blocked up in the air, but Griffith was able to get her head to the ball and knock it over the line. 

54’ – Bianca St-Georges (Mallory Pugh) – CHI 2, ORL 0

Chicago doubled their lead in the second half after Mallory Pugh played a ball in behind the Pride’s backline finding Bianca St-Georges who fired it into the side net from a tight angle. 

64’ – Mallory Pugh (Ava Cook) – CHI 3, ORL 0

The Red Stars extended its lead after Pugh received the pass from Ava Cook and dribbled it to the top of the box, striking it with her right foot into the bottom right corner of the goal. 

83’ – Amy Turner (Courtney Petersen) – CHI 3, ORL 1

The Pride pulled one back after Sydney Leroux was fouled just outside the box after a nice run of play. Courtney Petersen took the free kick and sent it to the back post where it found Amy Turner who was able to head the ball past a diving Chicago goalkeeper. 

86’ – Mallory Pugh (Penalty Kick) – CHI 4, ORL 1

Chicago was awarded a penalty kick late in the second half and Pugh stepped up to take it. Pride goalkeeper Erin McLeod saved the initial penalty shot but the rebound fell right in front of Pugh and she was able to tap in the rebound. 

87’ – Leah Pruitt (Abi Kim) – CHI 4, ORL 2

Orlando found the back of the net for the second time of the night after Abi Kim took on two defenders from the wing and put the ball to the feet of Leah Pruitt who was able to turn and send a rocket with her right foot to the inside of the opposite goal post and into the net. 

  • Amy Turner’s goal marked her first goal in the NWSL
  • Leah Pruitt’s was her first in Pride uniform, and fifth across all NWSL competitions
  • Courtney Petersen recorded her third assist in regular season play with the service on Turner’s goal
  • With the helper on Pruitt’s score, Abi Kim recorded her first assist of the year and second in regular season play
  • After earning her first start on the road at the midweek, midfielder Viviana Villacorta made her first career start at Exploria Stadium on Sunday night. 
  • Head Coach Amanda Cromwell made five changes to her starting lineup from the midweek, with Courtney Petersen, Toni Pressley, Gunny Jónsdóttir, Darian Jenkins and Leah Pruitt all getting back in the Starting XI. 

Next Match: The Pride go up against the Washington Spirit on Friday, May 27. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET at Exploria Stadium, with the match aired nationally on CBS Sports Network.





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