In their first-ever meeting in the MLS Reserve League, Vancouver Whitecaps FC reserves (1W-4L-2D) suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 away defeat to Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers reserves (4W-2L-1D) on Sunday afternoon.
In what was an entertaining West Division contest in front of an impressive crowd of 10,077 at Portland's JELD-WEN Field, the 'Caps second string looked on course to claim their first away win in the Reserve League after goals by Mustapha Jarju and Omar Salgado cancelled out Peter Lowry's first-half penalty for the Timbers reserves. However, the home side followed Saturday's first-team victory over Vancouver by stealing all three points with two goals in time added on at the end of the match. Brian Umony equalized before Lowry scored the winner to extend the Timbers' unbeaten streak in the Reserve League to four matches.
"The result today is so disappointing because I thought the players were fantastic during the entire 90 minutes," Whitecaps FC assistant coach Colin Miller told whitecapsfc.com. "I asked for a lot of hard work from the players today and they were fantastic in what they put into the match. Yet, it's so frustrating that it ends up in a 3-2 defeat. We have to learn to clear our lines in the late stages of a match."
On a gorgeous summer's afternoon in The City of Roses, it was the Timbers reserves that had more of the play in the first half, with the top two picks in this year's MLS SuperDraft in action, as Salgado started up front for Whitecaps FC reserves, while Darlington Nagbe started in midfield for Portland's second string. The home side had efforts from Nagbe and new acquisition Eric Alexander, while they also threatened off corner kicks. Salgado and reserves captain Greg Janicki, meanwhile, had chances for the Blue and White before the break.
Portland opened the scoring on 34 minutes from the penalty spot after match referee Baboucarr Jallow adjudged Janicki to have handled the ball in the Whitecaps FC box. Lowry confidently slotted his spot kick past 'Caps goalkeeper Jay Nolly for a 1-0 Portland lead.
That scoreline, however, lasted seven minutes, as the 'Caps second string made it 1-1 with a well-taken free kick by Jarju. The Gambian international, who was playing in midfield, struck his set-piece through the Portland wall and past Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson to level matters at halftime. It was Jarju's first goal in the Reserve League.
With the match back on level terms, Whitecaps FC reserves looked a more confident side after the break, as they pressed their hosts from much of the second half. On 62 minutes, Nizar Khalfan struck the post after beating Gleeson with a low-driven free kick.
Vancouver's second-half efforts were rewarded on 75 minutes, as two of their youngsters combined to give the visitors the lead. Substitute Caleb Clarke made a fine turn and cutback pass from the byline to find Salgado in front of the Timbers goal. The United States youth international easily tapped home his third Reserve League goal of the season for a 2-1 'Caps lead.
It looked like Vancouver's second string may claim some measure of revenge for Saturday's loss to Portland in MLS, but as the match entered four minutes of time added on, the Timbers reserves stunned their Canadian foes with two goals to win the match. Umony equalized from close range after the 'Caps failed to deal with substitute Chris Taylor's forward ball in the visitors' box. Then, with the last kick of the match, Lowry scored the dramatic winner after striking home Steve Purdy's knock down of a Rodrigo Lopez free kick into the Whitecaps FC box.
Following Sunday's disappointing defeat, Whitecaps FC reserves will now look ahead to their three remaining Reserve League matches in September and October, which includes a home fixture versus Portland on Monday, October 3.
34' - POR - Peter Lowry (penalty)
41' - VAN - Mustapha Jarju
75' - VAN - Omar Salgado (Caleb Clarke)
90+1' - POR - Brian Umony
90+4' - POR - Peter Lowry (Steve Purdy, Rodrigo Lopez)
Shots: Portland 10 - Vancouver 15
Shots on Goal: Portland 6 - Vancouver 5
Saves: Portland 3 - Vancouver 3
Fouls: Portland 10 - Vancouver 14
Offsides: Portland 1 - Vancouver 3
Corners: Portland 6 - Vancouver 4
32' - VAN - Philippe Davies
44' - VAN - Mustapha Jarju
Vancouver Whitecaps FC reserves
18.Jay Nolly; 25.Jonathan Leathers, 3.Bilal Duckett, 14.Greg Janicki, 8.Wes Knight; 16.Nizar Khalfan, 7.Mustapha Jarju (32.Caleb Clarke 62'), 15.Philippe Davies, 22.Shea Salinas; 23.Long Tan (30.Ben Fisk 81'), 17.Omar Salgado
Subs not used: 1.Joe Cannon, 35.Derrick Bassi
Portland Timbers reserves
20.Jake Gleeson; 22.Rodney Wallace, 5.Eric Brunner (27.Chris Taylor 45'), 35.Stefan Gislason (28.Freddie Braun 66'), 25.Steve Purdy; 17.Eric Alexander, 8.Peter Lowry, 14.James Marcelin (34.Tracy Hasson 85'), 6.Darlington Nagbe; 9.Bright Dike (19.Rodrigo Lopez 71'), 26.Brian Umony
Subs not used: 24.Adin Brown