Photo courtesy Eric Cech / Portland Timbers 2
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC played to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night at Merlo Field. The Switchbacks opened the game well, but T2 came close to taking the lead in the sixth minute, only for Kharlton Belmar’s close range finish to go astray. T2 took greater control as the half went on, but the Switchbacks regained control to start the second half, and had the chance to take the four minutes after the break only for Luke Vercollone shot a penalty kick off the left post after Saeed Robinson had been brought down in the penalty area. Portland worked its way back into the game, and hit the post through Belmar, but a minute later in the 73rd minute Gonzalez gave the Switchbacks the lead with a great, curled finish to the right corner of the net. The lead lasted only three minutes, though, as Rennico Clarke tucked home a free kick by Villyan Bijev. The Switchbacks pushed late to try and grab victory on the road, but McIntosh and his defense held firm as the game ended all square.
73’ – COS – Miguel Gonzalez
76’ – POR – Rennico Clarke (Villyan Bijev)
Three Things That Matter:
1. A frustrating recent run for the Switchbacks continued in Portland, as the side again was unable to hold a lead and as a result was unable to pull level on points with the LA Galaxy II. Colorado Springs can certainly argue some misfortune in each of their past two results – we’ll get to Kendall McIntosh in a second – and to go up against that after Spencer Richey’s nine-save performance last Friday for WFC2 in another 1-1 draw, the Switchbacks have to trust their luck will change soon.
2. Portland goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh was a busy man on Wednesday night, but he showed off why he is a former U.S. U20 international with a string of excellent saves that kept T2 in the game early in the second half. While there was little he could do on a great finish by Miguel Gonzalez for Colorado Springs with 17 minutes to go, the fact T2 was able to remain in the game throughout was thanks in large part to McIntosh’s outstanding performance.
3. T2 defender Rennico Clarke scored his second goal of the season to nab an equalizer for his side, as he continues to write a positive new chapter after returning from injury last month. Clarke tore an ACL midway through the 2015 season, but after a rigorous rehab, he returned to action on June 25, and has brought a solid aerial presence and leadership for Portland as they look to end the season with a string of positive results.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Kendall McIntosh, Portland Timbers 2 – McIntosh came through time and again when T2 needed him to and kept the game close, allowing Portland to earn a point at home against the Western Conference contenders.
Portland Timbers 2 at LA Galaxy II – August 6, 10:30 p.m. ET, StubHub Center
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Real Monarchs SLC – August 8, 9 p.m. ET, Rio Tinto Stadium