Several youth soccer players took a break from their Clash at the Border tournament to cheer for the Portland Timbers U-23 team Friday night, at Doc Harris Stadium.
Jose Ribas got the Timbers on the board with a goal in the 73rd minute of the game. Zack Foxhoven delivered a bicycle kicking goal that seemed to freeze time in the final ticks of regulation. The Timbers almost tied the game during stoppage time, but Washington Crossfire held on for a 3-2 victory.
“It was too little, too late. We should have been attacking like that the whole game,” Foxhoven said. “I hope these kids saw how hard we played at the end. A game is not over until it’s over. There’s always a chance to come back. I hope they can learn from our mistakes, and see how important it is to be aggressive from the very beginning.”
Crossfire gained a 2-0 advantage on a couple of long range goals, while Portland struggled to come up with a counter attack in the first 70 minutes. The Crossfire goalkeeper denied the Timbers of a header off of a corner kick. The Timbers took another shot that rattled off the post and back into play.
Ribas finally ended the frustration by chipping in a pass from Will Vitalis.
“Will got in a touch and made that run. He gave me a good ball, so I decided to take a chance,” Ribas said. “It feels good to get that first goal of the season. As a midfielder, you need to score. Hopefully, I can get a few more goals in and help this team.”
Clark Phillips came up with another nice header for Portland, but the ball darted wide of the net. As the Timbers pushed up for the tying goal, they got caught out of position and gave up an easy one to Crossfire in the final three minutes of regulation.
Foxhoven took the crowd for a ride when did a back flip and kicked the ball into the net as time expired.
“Not too many thoughts go through your head in that moment. You’re just trying to score,” he said. “It was the perfect opportunity for a bike kick. I just went for it.”
Foxhoven did a complete summersault and landed face down. He couldn’t see what happened.
“When I heard the roar from the crowd, I figured it went in,” Foxhoven said. “No time to celebrate that one. We just wanted to get back and get another goal in.”
Three different Timbers took a shot on goal during a scramble in front of the net at the beginning of stoppage time. Assistant coach Rob Underwood swore the ball crossed the line, but the officials ruled no goal. The Timbers never got another chance.
“The second half got better, and we started knocking in the ball a little more,” Underwood said. “It just wasn’t enough for 90 minutes to win the game.”
Despite the loss, the young soccer players in attendance were thrilled with the effort. After the game, they were still chanting, “When I root, I root for the Timbers!”
“One of the reasons this game was so close was because of the support of the fans. We really wanted to win for them,” said Ribas, who came to play in the U.S. from Ecuador. “It was still a great experience. We didn’t get the result we wanted, but we fought hard till the end.”
All of these U-23 development players have a dream of making it to the Major League Soccer level. Those cheers invigorated that fighting spirit.
“I don’t always hear the words they are chanting. My mind is focused on the game,” Foxhoven said. “But the overall noise in general really helps us and motivates us. I want to thank all the fans who came out tonight. It was awesome.”
The Clash at the Border tournament featured soccer players from Camas, Washougal, Vancouver and other cities in Washington, as well as Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and Canada. This is the third year the Timbers U-23 team has been invited to play a game at Doc Harris Stadium during this event.
“I hope we gave them a glimpse of what the Timbers are all about. We are going to continue to fight hard and try to win games,” Underwood said. “Hopefully, these kids grow up and continue to be Timbers fans.”
Clash at the Border
Local champions: Girls U-11 Gold — Washington Timbers FC G02 Red, Boys U-12 Silver — Washington Timbers FC B01 Forest, Boys U-12 Bronze — Washington Timbers FC B01 Green, Girls U-12 Platinum — Washington Timbers FC G01 Reds, Boys U-13 Bronze — Washington Timbers FC B00 Forest, Boys U-14 Platinum — Washington Timbers FC B99 Red, Boys U-14 Copper — Washington Timbers FC B99 Green, Girls U-15 Gold — Washington Timbers FC B98 Red, Boys High School Silver — Washington Timbers and Girls High School Gold — Washington Timbers FC G97 Red.
Local runner’s up: Girls U-10 Gold — Washington Timbers FC G03 Black, Boys U-11 — Washington Timbers FC B02 Red, Girls U-11 Silver — Washington Timbers FC B02 Forest, Boys U-12 Gold — Washington Timbers FC B01 Red, Boys U-12 Copper — Washington Timbers FC B01 Crimson, Girls U-12 Silver — Washington Timbers FC B01 Lime, Boys U-13 Gold — Washington Timbers FC B00 Green, Girls U-13 Gold — Washington Timbers FC B00 Red, Girls U-13 Bronze — Washington Timbers FC B00 Forest, Boys U-14 Bronze — Washington Timbers FC B99 Forest, Boys U-15 Gold — Washington Timbers FC B98 Reds, Boys U-15 Copper — Washington Timbers FC B98 Greens and Girls High School Silver — Washington Timbers FC B96 Forest.
Note: For tournament scores, go to www.washingtontimbers.com/clash/index_E.html.