Photo courtesy Sam Ortega / Portland Timbers 2
PORTLAND, Ore. –Despite entering the match on opposite ends of the spectrum in the USL Western Conference, Portland Timbers 2 and Real Monarchs SLC ended on level terms at Providence Park on Saturday, playing to a 0-0 draw. The total of 25 combined shots posted by the two squads belied the nature of what was a defensive battle for most of the 90 minutes. The best opportunity of the opening period came courtesy of the first-place Monarchs in the 31st minute when a throw-in in the attacking half quickly turned into an opportunity for Daniel Haber around the six-yard box but the Canadian was unable to convert as an alert intervention from T2 keeper Wade Hamilton quelled the danger. Portland managed just two shots on goal in the contest but came closest to moving in front in the 51st minute when Monarchs’ keeper Connor Sparrow was forced way out of his area to deny a potential breakaway, only to see Gio Calixtro get the chance to fire at the gaping net from long distance. Calixtro’s effort sailed wide of the left post. Hamilton was tested by a Haber header and an effort off the foot of Daniel Cruz just before the 70-minute mark but was up to the challenge both times as neither side was able to find a breakthrough. Portland moved to 2-18-6 (12pts) overall and 1-11-3 at home with its third consecutive draw while Real Monarchs SLC now stands at 17-4-5 (56pts) overall and 6-3-4 on the road.
Three Things That Matter:
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Renzo Zambrano, Portland Timbers 2 – With the ball bogged down in midfield for much of the game, Zambrano helped set the tone for T2 against the Western Conference heavyweights, finishing with five tackles, two shots and completing 38 passes
Portland Timbers 2 at Reno 1868 FC – September 23, 10 p.m. ET, Greater Nevada Field
Real Monarchs SLC at Phoenix Rising FC – September 16, 10:30 p.m. ET, Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex