LATE GOAL GIVES PORTLAND TIMBERS U-18/19 2-1 WIN OVER COLORADO RAPIDS

By Andrew Eakes

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (June 19, 2018) - Organization, heart and temperament proved to be the deciding factors in the second feature game of the 2018 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs Monday. The Portland Timbers and Colorado Rapids squared off in a game that looked to be ending in a tie, but a late goal in the 87th minute from Will Inalien sealed the deal for Portland in a 2-1 victory.

"This was a very physical and athletic team," said Portland head coach Larry Sunderland about his opponent. "This was a tough match up for us because most spots on the field, we are not that physical. I thought the first 20 minutes we played well, and the rest of the game was a battle."

Just seven minutes into the game, Portland was presented an opportunity that required patience and a bit of luck. Forward Sukyun Lee was coming down the left side of the field when he took a chip shot that hit off the top bar of the goal post. It came across the net and found the feet of forward Giovanni Calixtro. Instead of finishing the play off himself, Calixtro dished one out to midfielder Adrian Villegas with a soft touch, and the 2017 Concacaf U-17 Men's National Team midfielder took care of the rest.

Throughout the first half, Portland's defense remained organized and impenetrable. The frustration was slowly building on the Colorado side as the team was having a difficult time executing the game plan.

This frustration carried into the second half for Colorado as forward Matthew Hundley continued to try and break through Portland's defense, without any success. It wasn't until the 50th minute that Hundley and the Rapids were able to finally see some results. Hundley was taking the ball down the field when he made a sharp cut to put the ball on his left foot. In one fluid motion, the forward was able to find the back-right corner of the net, notching his 22nd goal of the season.

This created a shift in the atmosphere in the game as the Rapids found some extra chances, which nearly proved costly to Portland. With time, Portland was able to regather themselves and make a push to regain their advantage. In the 87th minute, midfielder Vitalis Takawira drove a long ball down the field where he found forward Witerlynd Inalien who made a sharp cut to the left to beat his defender and finished with a crushing goal, capping off the win.

Portland hopes to take this momentum into Wednesday's game against Philadelphia Union at 4:15 p.m. For Colorado, they look ahead in hopes of regaining their confidence against Shattuck-Saint Mary's on Wednesday, also at 4:15 p.m.