Photo courtesy of Portland Timbers 2
PORTLAND – The Portland Timbers 2 tallied twice in a span of two minutes in the opening half and went on to a 2-1 victory against Orange County Blues FC on Sunday at Merlo Field. Steven Taylor notched his first goal for the Timbers 2 in the 28th minute and Victor Arboleda followed with his third of the season in the 30th minute as Portland maintained its momentum from last week’s dramatic 4-3 comeback win against the LA Galaxy II. New Blues signing Max Rauhofer cut Portland’s lead to one when he converted an 88th-minute corner kick in his Orange County debut. T2 earns back-to-back victories for just the second time this season and pulls even in points with San Antonio FC in the Western Conference standings, improving to 7-11-4 overall and 5-5-3 at home. The win also erased a five-game home winless streak (0-2-3). Orange County, which currently is hovering just above the postseason cutoff line, fell to 9-11-4 (31 points) overall and 4-7-2 on the road. This was the second and final regular-season meeting between the two clubs. The Blues earned a 1-0 victory against T2 on April 20 at Anteater Stadium.
28’ – POR – Steven Taylor (Blake Bodily)
30’ – POR – Victor Arboleda (Villyan Bijev)
88’ – OC – Max Rauhofer (penalty)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. T2 defender Steven Taylor wore the captain’s armband and made his second appearance for the club. His opening presence on Sunday certainly was a complete reversal of last week’s debut in which he conceded an own goal in the ninth minute against the LA Galaxy II. Against the Blues, Taylor notched his first goal off of a Blake Bodily corner kick in the 28th minute to give Portland the 1-0 lead. T2 can lay claim to deserving something to show for its efforts during that span as it was the third consecutive corner kick in the span of a couple minutes. Taylor’s header off of the second corner was turned away by Blues goalkeeper Josh Cohen at the near right post, but Cohen and the Blues’ defense were unable to stop the third run.
2. Portland kept things going in the run of play with the lead as Victor Arboleda and Villyan Bijev worked the ball up-field on a counter attack to push its lead to 2-0. Arboleda snuck his 30th-minute effort inside the right post for the two-goal cushion. Arboleda now has three goals on the season and Bijev leads T2 with five assists.
3. Blues midfielder Richard Chaplow, who signed with the club late in July, had the greatest significance for Orange County on both ends of the pitch. In the 26th minute, the Englishman made a clutch goal-line clearance against Bijev’s shot to keep T2 off the score sheet at that moment. Chaplow also had a couple early scoring chances, and probably would have wanted his 20th-minute attempt back as he was set up well be Trevin Caesar during that particular sequence. Caesar dropped the ball off to Chaplow in the box and he had a strong look at the frame, only to push his shot wide right. The Blues did finally manage to find the score sheet when former Real Monarchs SLC forward Max Rauhofer, who just signed with Orange County, converted a late penalty kick.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Steven Taylor, Portland Timbers 2 – Taylor tallied the opening goal, had an earlier promising scoring chance on a set piece and helped Portland’s defense shut down the Blues for most of the match.
Portland Timbers 2 at Real Monarchs SLC – Aug. 17, 9 p.m. ET, Rio Tinto Stadium
Orange County Blues FC vs. LA Galaxy II – Aug. 20, 10 p.m. ET, Anteater Stadium