Photo courtesy of Sacramento Republic FC
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – For just the second time this season, the Portland Timbers 2 held a lead. This time, though, T2 made it stick as the visiting side posted a 2-0 victory against Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 11,569 at Papa Murphy’s Park. Villyan Bijev converted a first-half penalty kick and Victor Arboleda added to the scoring in the 68th minute for T2. Backup goalkeeper Wade Hamilton made four saves and earned the clean sheet. It was Portland’s first win of the season after opening the campaign with five consecutive one-goal defeats. T2 is 1-5-0 (3 points) this season and Sacramento is now 3-3-0 (9 points) having dropped three consecutive matches.
40’ – POR – Villyan Bijev (penalty)
68’ – POR – Victor Arboleda
Three Things That Mattered:
1. Earlier this season, Portland held a second-half lead against Seattle Sounders FC 2, only to quickly concede a pair of goals during a 2-1 loss on April 2. T2’s fortune turned around Saturday with one goal in either half. Villyan Bijev calmly converted a 40th-minute penalty kick, chipping the ball into the right side of the frame as Sacramento goalkeeper Evan Newton anticipated in the opposite direction. In the 68th minute, T2 struck again through Victor Arboleda. It marked not only the first two-goal lead for Portland this season, but also was the first time that Sacramento’s defense had conceded multiple goals in a match this year.
2. With Kendall McIntosh called up to 18-player roster for the MLS side’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the Timbers 2 had a change at goalkeeper with Wade Hamilton making his first start of the season. Hamilton came up big in first-half stoppage time to get enough of a touch against Trevin Caesar to push a shot wide of the frame for a corner kick and eventually get to halftime with the one-goal lead. Hamilton’s efforts carried over into the second half with some strong positioning and multiple saves to ultimately earn the clean sheet. Hamilton did, however, have one moment he’d like to have back on a ball played back to him midway through the second half that almost turned into an own goal.
3. With Hamilton anchoring the back, it was also the men in front of him who played a big role in shutting down Sacramento. The defensive unit made 23 clearances compared to Sacramento’s eight, withstanding a Republic FC offense that generated 13 shots total. Republic FC also had a slight edge possession-wise at 53.5 percent, but the club could not generate a goal for a third consecutive match.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Wade Hamilton, Portland Timbers 2 – T2 had to turn to its backup goalkeeper and Hamilton rose to the challenge with four saves and the clean sheet.
Sacramento Republic FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – April 29, 6 p.m. ET, Thunderbird Stadium
Portland Timbers 2 vs. San Antonio FC – April 28, 10:30 p.m. ET, Providence Park