PORTLAND, OREGON – Kharlton Belmar registered a brace and Brent Richards recorded two assists in four minutes to lead Timbers 2 (9W-12L-2D) to a 3-1 win over Whitecaps FC 2 (8W-11L-5D) at Merlo Field on Sunday.
WFC2 striker Caleb Clarke scored his team-high seventh goal of the season but it would not be enough for Vancouver, who saw their two-match road winning streak come to a halt.
The first half saw the two sides trading half-chances early, starting with a set piece off a Marco Bustos free kick inside the Timbers 2 territory. Centre backs Jackson Farmer and Craig Nitti attempted to pounce on the ball but T2 goalkeeper Jake Gleeson was quick to react.
On the following possession, T2 striker Santiago Biglieri found space inside the box and launched a left-foot shot that missed wide right of WFC2 goalkeeper Marco Carducci’s net by mere inches.
Portland would continue their aggressive attack in the 32nd minute when Biglieri connected with defender Jeanderson on the left side, drawing Carducci off his line and freeing up Blair Gavin for a look but the T2 striker could not guide the ball into the open net.
Gavin threatened again in the 40th minute when Biglieri found him on the left side but Carducci was there to close down his angle.
Sahil Sadhu, starting at right back for the third straight match, nearly put Whitecaps FC 2 on the board in the 44th minute when he launched from distance but just missed the top left corner of the goal.
The home side finally broke through just before halftime when a Jeanderson cross got past WFC2 defenders and bounced to Belmar, who slotted the ball past Carducci to send Timbers 2 into the locker room with a one-goal advantage.
Portland kept Carducci busy to start the second half when Jeanderson curled a direct free kick from just outside the right of the box, but the first team goalkeeper leapt to get his palm on the top-shelf attempt.
Bustos, who registered a brace in each of the last two matches, tried to add to his tally but his effort off a set-up pass from Blasco bounced off the crossbar.
On the other end, Timbers 2 would capitalize on their opportunities. Substitute striker Brent Richards injected instant energy into the Portland attack, setting up goals from Belmar and Gavin within four minutes of coming into the match in the 67th minute.
WFC2 kept battling until the final whistle. In the 87th minute, Farmer’s attempt bounced off the crossbar and straight to Clarke who put in the rebound to cut the Timbers lead to two goals, 3-1.
Unfortunately for WFC2, it was too little, too late. The loss now puts the two Cascadia rivals in a deadlock for eighth spot in the Western Conference and seven points behind sixth-place Tulsa Roughnecks FC for the final playoff spot.
Whitecaps FC 2 round out their road schedule when they visit Arizona United SC on Saturday, August 22. They conclude the regular schedule with a three-match homestand at Thunderbird Stadium, beginning with a date against defending USL champion Sacramento Republic FC on Sunday, September 6. For more ticket information, visit whitecapsfc2.com.
45' – POR – Kharlton Belmar (Jeanderson)
68' – POR – Kharlton Belmar (Brent Richards)
71' – POR – Blair Gavin (Brent Richards)
87' – VAN – Caleb Clarke
Shots: POR 15 – VAN 15
Saves: POR 2 – VAN 2
Fouls: POR 12 – VAN 10
Corners: POR 0 – VAN 6
28’ – POR – George Fochive
47’ – VAN – Deklan Wynne
56’ – POR – Rundell Winchester
74’ – VAN – Marco Bustos
90.Jake Gleeson; 28.Andy Thoma, 20.Taylor Peay, 35.Anthony Manning, 15.Jeanderson; 5.George Fochive, 27.Nick Besler (40.Tim Payne 67’); 52.Blair Gavin (84.Seth Casiple 85’), 73.Santiago Biglieri (50.Blake Bodily 78’), 30.Kharlton Belmar (97.Terrell Lowe 85’); 77.Rundell Winchester (55.Brent Richards 67’)
Substitutes not used
29.Justin Luthy, 85.Steven Evans
Whitecaps FC 2
24.Marco Carducci; 50.Sahil Sandhu, 41.Jackson Farmer, 54.Craig Nitti (56.Ian Christianson 76’), 62.Deklan Wynne; 58.Will Seymore, 45.Tyler Rosenlund (49.Mackenzie Pridham 76’); 32.Marco Bustos, 42.Jordan Haynes (51.Billy Schuler 76’), 48.Victor Blasco (47.Jovan Blagojevic 76’); 34.Caleb Clarke
Substitutes not used