The Lane United FC Men’s Team looked to end their winless streak versus United PDX on the road in Portland on Friday evening, but despite enjoying numerous scoring chances were unable to find the back of the net and fell by the score of 2-0.
The match got underway with the home side applying intense pressure high up the pitch. While the Reds had a hard time escaping their half in the opening five minutes, United PDX were only able to send in a deflected shot that was easily saved by goalkeeper Brandon Limes and a free kick that went straight into the wall.
Lane United settled in and started stringing passes together up the field. Their own counter-pressing led to their first chance, as midfielder Ethan Doud picked a defender’s pocket and played through striker Owen Nelson, but his shot was denied by a last-ditch challenge from a United PDX defender.
The visitors would enjoy another great chance after Hugo Rodriguez found Tommy Case streaking down the left and the forward’s cross was cleared to the top of the box. An onrushing Doud first-timed a left-footed rocket from the top of the box that barely flew over the crossbar.
The match would take a turn in the 15th minute, when Doud seemingly won a beautifully timed slide tackle at the top of the penalty arc. However, referee Mike Hohnholz blew his whistle for a foul and United PDX center back Boyd Curry perfectly curled his free kick around the wall and inside Limes’ left post.
While the setback threw the Reds off balance for a spell, they regained their composure and nearly found an equalizer in the 25th minute. An inch-perfect long ball from the midfield line by center back Michael Hatcher found a streaking Case in the middle of the penalty area, but his glancing header flew inches wide of the far post with goalkeeper Kash Oladapo beaten.
The rest of the half was played without either team able to grasp control. In the 35th minute, Cullen Wilkerson got free down the middle, but his low shot went right into the hands of a well-placed Limes. The visitors strung together a few decent attacks, but multiple crosses into the box were cut out each time.
Both teams came out of the break with an attacking mindset and the Reds enjoyed the first chance when a low, left-footed strike from Rodriguez in the 49th minute was gathered in by a diving Oladapo, who would play a central role for the remainder of the match.
United PDX would counter in the 53rd minute as Limes was forced into a sprawling save from a distant Wilkerson shot and another in the 55th on a tamer shot from Connor Evans.
After a curler from Rodriguez went straight into the hands of Oladapo, forward Ben Foulks began to assert his pace down the right flank for the Reds, as he created back-to-back great chances for Case in the 58th and 59th minutes after streaking runs and crosses into the middle. Oladapo made a point blank save on the first and a diving save to his right on the second.
United PDX made the Reds pay for their inability to finish off their chances minutes later, as right back Mo Mohamed was able to get to the byline and send across a low pass for Tyler Hardin to tap in alone at the far post.
LUFC did not drop their heads and enjoyed a string of chances. First, Doud again won the ball by pressing high, then a clever one-two on the left between Case and Nelson allowed Case to get off a right-footed shot from inside the area, but again Oladapo was there to keep the Reds out.
After substitute Banyan Lyon drew a foul on the left in the 81st minute, fellow sub Jalen Belong latched onto the semi-cleared free kick with a right-footed strike from the top of the eighteen, but again Oladapo rose up to make the save. The United PDX netminder, who would end up with nine saves, again denied Belong three minutes later when the striker smashed a volley from inside the area right at Oladapo.
With LUFC pushing numbers forward, the home side created an opportunity on the counter when a through ball left Jackson Finn alone on goal, but Limes stood his ground to make a fantastic kick save. Finn would have a goal called back a minute later for offside.
The Reds would enjoy one final golden opportunity. Belong threaded a perfect defense-splitting pass to Guilherme Viserta on the right and the Brazilian set up Lyon for a one-timer. His shot was blocked, but Rodriguez controlled the rebound and unleashed a fierce volley that finally beat Oladapo, but unfortunately clattered off the crossbar.
Despite outshooting United PDX 13-7 and enjoying some great chances, Lane United was unable to breakthrough and end their drought in front of goal. With the defeat, the team was officially eliminated from playoff contention.
The Reds will look to end the season on a high note next weekend in their final two games. Up first is their final home match of the season on Thursday, July 13th, versus last-placed PDX FC.