Victoria Highlanders FC (5-2-1) hit the road this weekend as they travel to Oregon to take on Portland Timbers U23 (2-6-2) and Lane United FC (4-2-4) in Week 9 of the USL League Two regular season, June 28 (7:00 PM PST KO) at McCulloch Stadium in Salem, Oregon and June 30 (2:00 PM PST KO) at Marist High School in Eugene, Oregon.
The Highlanders embark on their second road trip of the season as they look to grab points from Oregon sides Portland Timbers U23 and Lane United FC. The Victoria side is coming off a 2-1 win over Calgary Foothills FC, a win that split the weekend series against the reigning USL League Two champions. The matches will be streamed online through the Timbers’ and Lane United FC’s MyCujoo.tv channels.
VICTORIA HIGHLANDERS FC
Having passed the halfway mark of the season, the Highlanders are looking to take advantage of the two games in hand that they have on the Northwest Division-leading Foothills FC, who hold a one-point lead over the Victoria squad and Lane United FC.
The Highlanders are coming off an impressive 2-1 win over the Foothills in a match that saw Goteh Ntignee score his fourth goal in only his third start and Shun Takano scoring the eventual game winner with a perfectly placed strike.
“That’s the bottom line, you can fall down, but you have to get back up and show that you can come together as a team. We made some adjustments to our game and we knew the things we needed to take care of to find our game,” added Niendorf. “In the end it all comes down to execution and taking care of the fundamentals. It was really good to see how motivated we were and how much the boys paid attention to our changes. We started on the front foot this game rather than the back foot like the last game. I’m tremendously proud of the boys to keep our season going with an opportunity to challenge for a playoff spot.”
Through eight games the Highlanders have received goals from Ntignee (4), Victory Shumbusho (2), Sean Young, Joshua Walter, Connor Guilherme, Daniel Davidson (2), Takano (2) and Shojaei (2), with Shumbusho leading in assists with four and shots with 15. The Highlanders have received clean sheets from both Trevor Schneider and Simon Norgrove (2).
Portland Timbers U23
Portland is coming off a 5-2 win over Vancouver TSS FC Rovers on Sunday, June 23. Leading 2-1 at halftime, the home side outscored the Rovers by a 3-1 score line in the second half to secure their second win of the season.
Timur Zhividze recorded his first career hat trick in the match and Bertrand Fourrier registered a brace. The win pulled the Timbers even with Vancouver in points in the Northwest Division. The match was the first of three-straight games at home for the Salem, Oregon based club.
Through 10 games the Timbers have received goals from Fourrier (4), Zhividze (3), Gerardo Lopez, and John Denis.
2019 Season Series
The Highlanders have played against Timbers U23 twice already this season. A 2-0 win for the Highlanders on May 19 and the most recent game, a 6-0 Victoria win on June 16.
The most recent match saw the Victoria side post a season-high six goals with Daniel Davidson and Goteh Ntignee both recording a brace and Shun Takano and Elyad Shojaei rounding out the scoring. Simon Norgrove picked up the clean sheet in goal. While Victoria has had a successful first half of the season against Portland, the matches are in the past and the Highlanders will be facing a determined team on the road that will be looking to climb the division table.
“Portland is a completely different team when they are at home. They’ve been a hard team to play against on the road,” commented Highlanders head coach Thomas Niendorf. “We understand that no game comes easy in this league. There are no guarantees and any team in our division has the chance to win and go on a good run. We are expecting a motivated and determined team that is coming off a win against the Rovers. We need to stick to our game and play the way we know we can and take advantage of our opportunities.”
Lane United FC
Lane United is coming off a week that saw them split their weekend games against the Rovers and Sounders U23.
Their first match of the weekend was a 5-2 win over Vancouver TSS FC Rovers on June 21. While Vancouver may have scored the first goal of the match, the home team responded with three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead into halftime. Eric Diaz and Willie Spurr added goals of their own in the second half to put the game out of reach and give Lane the 5-2 win.
Lane United’s second match of the weekend had the Eugene side travel to Seattle where they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Sounders. The visiting team gave up the first goal of the match, but Alejandro Segovia was able to tie the game at one heading into halftime. The Sounders attack was too much to overcome as they added two goals in the second half to take the 3-1 win and hand Lane United their second loss of the season.
After ten games played, Charlie Spurr leads Lane United in goal scoring with a team-high four goals. United goalkeeper Albert Escuin has recorded two clean sheets for the Oregon side and has been perfect in penalty kick situations on the season.
2019 Season Series
The Highlanders have played two matches against Lane United FC. The first was a 1-1 draw in the Highlanders home opener on May 10. Elyad Shojaei scored the lone goal of the game for the home team, a beautiful one touch shot that was nominated for USL League Two Goal of the Week.
The second match, once again at Centennial Stadium, saw the visiting club walk away with a 3-0 win. Currently sitting third in the Northwest Division and tied in points with the Highlanders, the Eugene, Oregon based club will be looking to jump Victoria in the standings in the final match between the two teams in the regular season.
“They have been a very impressive club this year,” added Niendorf. “They played us to a draw in our home opener. Our second match against them was a loss, but the score didn’t tell the entire story. They took advantage of our mistakes and that was the difference. We still had opportunities, but just didn’t convert on them. With first place within reach for both clubs, we are expecting another tightly contested match against them and I believe it is a test that the boys are up for and won’t take lightly.”
2019 USL League Two Regular Season – Week 9
McCulloch Stadium – Salem, Oregon
June 28th, 2019 – 7:00pm PST
WATCH: Portland Timbers U23 MyCujoo.tv
Marist High School – Eugene, Oregon
June 30th, 2019 – 2:00pm PST
WATCH: Lane United FC MyCujoo.tv