A goal by midfielder Eric Miller and forward Zack Foxhoven in each half helped guide the Portland Timbers U-23s to a 2-0 win against division-rival Sounders FC U-23 before more than 3,500 fans on a Providence Health & Fitness Day on Thursday afternoon at JELD-WEN Field.
After trading a few early chances, the Timbers U-23s opened the scoring on Miller’s goal in the 25th minute. Portland added a second goal 15 minutes into the second half as Foxhoven took advantage of a free ball in the box off a set piece. Backed by five saves from goalkeeper David Meves, the Timbers U-23s held firm against the Sounders FC U-23 attack to secure the shut-out victory in their 2013 Premier Development League season opener. Miller and Foxhoven scored their first goals of the season in league play, forward Mark Sherrod and midfielder Gabriel Conelian each registered assists as the Timbers U-23s (1-0-0, 3pts) earned their first win over the Sounders FC U-23 (0-1-0, 0pts).
Miller lifted the Timbers U-23s to a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute. After receiving a pass from midfielder Gabriel Conelian, Miller worked the ball into open space near the top left corner of the goal and drove a shot into the top far corner for his first goal of the season.
Portland doubled its lead, 2-0, in the 65th minute off a set piece. A free kick into the penalty area was headed on by forward Mark Sherrod and the ball deflected down in front of goal. Foxhoven worked into position to knock the ball into the back of an open net as Seattle defenders tracked back to goal.
Meves made three saves in the first half to help keep Sounders FC U-23 at bay, including a diving save in the 28th minute on a shot from distance by forward David Geno, who scored four goals for Seattle in their U.S. Open Cup match on Tuesday, aimed at the right post. Meves turned in another key save in the 54th minute, pushing high a shot by defender Michael Uyehara from roughly 20 yards out.
Sounders FC U-23 had chances in the second half to cut into the deficit. Midfielder Adbul Aman lifted a shot from inside 10 yards over the crossbar in the 70th minute – one of his team-high three shots. Eight minutes later, midfielder Miles Byass drove a shot from just beyond the top right corner of the penalty area over the mark.
Timbers U-23s defender Bryan Gallego denied a scoring chance for Seattle in the 88th minute, heading a shot by Sounders FC U-23 defender Josh Phillips off the goal line. Gallego also made a timely tackle inside the penalty area in the first half to prevent a quality look for Aman in the 17th minute.
The Sounders U-23 continue their busy week with a Sunday match in Victoria, British Columbia versus the Victoria Highlanders. Following that match, the Sounders U-23 will fly to Charlotte, North Carolina for a 2nd Round match in the U.S. Open Cup against the professional Charlotte Eagles.