Lane United FC suffered a 4-1 loss at the hands of Portland Timbers U23 in Salem on Sunday, June 20th.
The thermometer read 86° F, but it was much more uncomfortable on the turf surface at the Capital FC Timbers complex in Salem for Lane United’s third road match of the year.
Portland Timbers U23 were the hottest team in USL2’s Northwest Division entering today’s match, having collected 13 points from their first five games after a 2-0 win over PDX FC on Friday.
The visiting Reds have had a much different path. After dealing with an unexpected coaching change right before the first USL2 league match and a whole roster’s worth of injuries, LUFC finally found their first win of the season against OVF Alliance on Friday. With several changes to the starting lineup, they would not find such a result today.
The fitness woes continued for LUFC, who lost Kingsley Armah (knee sprain) and Michael Hatcher (hamstring strain) to first-half injuries. Calvan Berteau joined the infirmary fifteen minutes into the second half with a groin strain. Reserve goalkeeper Kieran Brown was forced into action as a field player for the final 18 minutes and acquitted himself quite well.
Ivan Mykhailenko struck first for the home team as he headed in a corner kick in the 23rd minute. Marco Afonso doubled the lead fifteen minutes later by unleashing a low shot inside the far post as the Timbers converted an LUFC turnover.
Reds' netminder Albert Escuin did his best to keep his side in the game, ending the match with double-digit saves. However, the lead would grow to three in the 68th minute as a deflected shot from Luke Bone wrong-footed Escuin and wound up in the back of the net.
The Reds fought with fire in the second half. Kento Takamura picked up a knock to his head and his lip was dripping blood onto his kit, but he would return and ultimately find the breakthrough in stoppage time. A long-ball from Albert Escuin found its way to the Japanese forward, who made a darting run into the box and ripped a right-footed shot inside the far post.
A few minutes prior, Takamura had had a similar chance saved after he cut inside and fired the ball at the near post. This time, he pushed his shot into the far netting, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Afonso would net his brace for the home side a minute later, tapping in a cross from point blank range, although the Reds’ second half stood out as much-improved.
The Reds will be back home to host PDX FC on Friday, June 25th, at Civic Park. Lane United and PDX FC have produced a pair of the most entertaining matchups in all of USL League 2, going toe-to-toe for a 5-4 thriller in Lane United's season opener and battling to a 1-0 nailbiter in Portland with an 89th-minute winner by the home side.
Tickets for Friday's match are available at laneutd.com/tickets. We hope to see you there!