June 22,2014(ISN) – PORTLAND – Victoria Highlanders FC suffered their third defeat of the season, June 21, dropping a 3-1 decision to Portland Timbers U-23 on the road to push them to 4-2-3 in the 2014 Premier Development League season. Victoria controlled the second half of play after being outshot 12-4 in the opening 45 minutes, but the Timbers were able to convert two late goals to capture the win.
Portland’s Belmar opened and closed the scoring in the match, while teammate David Aguilar netted the other Timbers goal. Riley O’Neill answered for Victoria with his third goal of the season in a losing cause.
Portland’s Belmar opening goal in the match came at 14 minutes, as teammate Aguilar’s shot from the left wing rebounded to the forwards foot, who one-timed it by a helpless Mitrou to put his side up 1-0.
Aguilar had several chances to score in the first half, including a blast inside the attacking zone at 21 minutes that forced Highlanders ‘keeper Mitrou to extend fully to redirect the ball out of harms way.
Portland received multiple corners in the opening 45 minutes, with the most dangerous opportunity to go ahead coming off of the head of Reed McKenna, who redirected the ball through traffic that Mitrou picked out of a wall of players to stop. The ball was eventually cleared from the ensuing scramble to keep the game level.
Despite being outshot 12-4 in the first half, Victoria were not without their own chances, as a promising looking rush by Cam Hundal on 32 minutes was just missed inside the six-yard-box by both Blair Sturrock and O’Neill. The Highlanders showed good composure and were unlucky to grab the lead.
In his return to the net after several weeks after being sidelined due to injury, Mitrou was sharp between the woodwork, twice pushing the ball over the crossbar in the first half on what looked like sure goals.
The Highlanders came out pushing the pace in the second half, with a Cameron Stokes strike generating an early corner for the visiting side. Stokes received the ball again just a minute later, feeding to teammate Sturrock on the right wing who fired just high. In addition to Stokes, midfielder Alex Rowley also showed noticeable jump in the second, striking two blasts on net that were just high over the net.
Against the flow of play, the Timbers converted on a set piece to take the lead late in the match. Portland’s Hugo Rhoads’ corner was redirected into the net by Aguilar, giving the home side a one-goal advantage with just 10 minutes remaining.
Substitute Basso came off the bench for Victoria following the go-ahead goal and received a great opportunity to level the score for his squad, but the shot would go just wide right of the net.
Despite pushing numbers forward, Victoria was unable to find the equalizer. Portland took advantage of the pressing Highlanders offence in extra time, with Belmar completing his brace to put the game away at 3-1.
The Highlanders record moves to 4-2-3 with the defeat with the team also dropping to third place in the division. It’s a quick turnaround for the squad, who head to face Lane United FC at Sunday at 6:00 p.m. For more information, please visit www.highlandersfc.ca
FINAL MATCH STATISTICS
06.21.2014: Aldergrove Middle School— 7:30 p.m.
Attendance: – 130
Victoria Highlanders 1 (O’Neill) – Portland Timbers U-23 3 (Belmar (2), Aguilar)
VHFC Starting XI: Highlanders Starting XI: Mitrou, An. Ravenhill, T.Hughes, Ashlee, Brown, O’Neill, Bhandal, Rowley, Hundal, Stokes, Sturrock
SUBS: de Graaf (67′), Basso (81′), Barrett (83′)
Coach: Steve Simonson
PT Starting XI: Timbers Starting XI: Luthey, Castillo, Seymore, Fisher, Rose, Fisher, Hayes, McKenna, Aguilar, Belnar, Strong
SUBS: Rhoads (65′), Ribas (74′), Hewett (87′), Connor (90′)
Coach: Jim Rilatt
VHFC – O’Neill (78′)
PT – None
VHFC – None
PT – None
Statistics VHFC PT
Shots 13 19
Saves 7 4
Fouls 11 12
Corners 10 2
Offside 0 0