Lane United were unfortunate to leave Civic Park without any goals on Friday, June 11th, 2021, losing to Portland Timbers U23 2-0.
Between injuries, new coaches, and even newer players still joining the team, the Reds took the field against Portland Timbers U23 on Friday looking to turn their momentum in what has been an unlucky season. Kingsley Armah, Diego Gonzalez-Ruiz, and Michael Hatcher all made debuts tonight for the home squad—Hatcher as a starter on the back line.
Unfortunately for the Reds, the situation got even tougher in the 25th minute as Portland’s Luke Bone played a ball through the Lane United defense for right winger Pablo Greenlee, who poked his shot in from just inside the box. Last week's Man of the Match Matthew King also received a head injury on the play and had to come off from newly-signed Kingsley Armah.
The match got chippy with plenty of fouls flew back and forth, none worse than the goalscorer Greenlee committing a handball before following through with a hard tackle on Kento Takamura. Greenlee received a caution.
Henry Cromack would also receive a yellow, his in the 37th minute, for arguing with the referee after an Andron Kagramanyan foul.
Albert Escuin, who would make six crucial saves on the night, made a nice stop to keep the score close before halftime gave each side a chance to regroup.
While Lane United made tactical progress to open the second period, the Timbers would double their advantage just six minutes into the second half. An unbelievable solo run saw midfielder Jose Sosa dance through two Lane United defenders and finish past a diving Escuin.
The urgency rose for the Reds, and they pushed for an opening goal. Kagramanyan received a yellow card himself in the 56th minute. Their best chance of the night came shortly thereafter, as Michael Hatcher was barely unable to connect his head with a set piece from the wing taken by Edo Merci.
The rain began to fall around the 70th minute, along with the Reds’ chances at three points. Portland slowed the pace of the game considerably by possessing the ball without creating many chances.
The best of their chances was a header from point-blank range that was somehow stopped by Escuin in the 81st minute.
It wasn’t Escuin’s first save of the night, and it wouldn’t be his last. In the 89th minute, he made another diving stop to deny Portland’s Marco Afonso from inside the area.
In the end, the Reds couldn’t break through the Timbers’ clogged midfield. A match without conceding any set piece goals was a positive, but the team will regroup and physically recover for this Sunday’s match in Portland.