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Timbers U23s move to top of the Northwest Division

Portland blows out reigning PDL champion Kitsap 4-0 in front of more than 8,000 at Jeld-Wen
by: David Ball, Portland midfielder Roberto Farfan, left, gets locked up with a Kitsap defender during the first half of Thursday's 4-0 win.

PORTLAND - The Timbers U23 soccer club scored an emphatic 4-0 win over reigning Premier Development League champion Kitsap on Thursday morning, vaulting Portland to the top of the pack in the Northwest League standings.

The Timbers (3-0-0) took command late in the first half, tallying three goals over the final 15 minutes to put the match out of reach heading into the locker room.

Andrew Ribeiro started the scoring frenzy with a blast from 30 yards out. Kitsap goalie Zac Lubin was in position for the save, but the ball spun off his gloves leaving Lubin nothing to do but turn and watch as it bounced into the net.

'Getting that first goal changes soccer a lot,' Timbers U23 coach Jim Rilatt said. 'We were able to play with a lot more freedom after that, while the other team tends to panic a bit. It's hard to score goals.'

Although over the next 10 minutes, the Timbers would make scoring look easy.

The next tally came less than a minute later when Eric Miller split the defense with a low roller through the box, setting up Cameron Vickers for an attempt on the right side. Lubin saw the play come together and raced off the line, sliding across the turf to block Vickers first shot. But the ball remained at his feet, and Vickers quickly fired again sending the ball through a crowd of defenders for a 2-0 lead.

The Timbers would strike once more before the halftime whistle when Steven Evans was left alone at the top of the box on a corner kick. The ball came to him with plenty of time to frame a shot, and Evans let loose with a rocket that was deflected halfway to its destination and ended up in the top half of the goal.

'They weren't expecting us to make a quick play off the kick, and I was lucky to have it deflect off a defender and the goalie guessed the wrong way,' Evans said. 'We just kept pressuring them and it created a lot of chances.'

The Timbers nearly added another goal during stoppage time after Lubin sent a slow roller down the middle, leading to a turnover that sent him scrambling back to the goal line. Vickers pounced on the loose ball, but his low shot from 15 yards out went just wide of the post.

Kitsap tried to mount a comeback coming out of the intermission, but their few early chances were stifled by the Timbers active backline. The highlight came when Evyn Hewett stepped in to break up a Kitsap 2-on-1 chance down the right side.

The Timbers made the final 4-0 when Vickers fed Evans for his second goal of the day in the 54th minute, opening the door for Rilatt to see some fresh faces off the bench for the final stages of the match.

Evans had a chance for the hat trick when he dribbled across the top of the box and let loose with a hard shot in the 86th minute, but Lubin left his feet to make the save.

Portland goalies Spencer Richey and Justin Baarts combined on the shutout.

The win leaves the Timbers as the only unbeaten, untied team in the Northwest division, while Kitsap falls to 2-2-0.

'Rosters change a lot year to year in this league, so you never know,' Rilatt said. 'But we felt we should have gotten two results against them last year that didn't come through, so it was nice to get it done handily this time.'

Portland out shot the Pumas 13-6.

The U23s play Saturday in Vancouver (2-1-1).




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