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GAMEDAY REPORT: Diaz Leads Defiance to Big Win in Portland

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 08/03/20, 11:00PM EDT

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Tacoma moves back into Group A playoff positions behind 4-0 victory at Providence Park

PORTLAND, Ore. – Tacoma Defiance recorded their second consecutive victory against rival the Portland Timebrs 2 as Alec Diaz had two goals and one assist in a 4-0 win at Providence Park on Monday night. The win moved the Defiance back into the playoff places in Group A as their undefeated run reached three games overall.

With a chance to add to a two-game undefeated run since the season resumed, Tacoma almost took the lead in the 17th minute when Diaz beat Portland goalkeeper Hunter Sulte to a long ball forward on the left flank outside the penalty area. Diaz cut into the penalty area where two defenders tried to thwart his chance, and that allowed Sulte to recover in time to save when Diaz finally shot.

The Puerto Rico international made no mistake in the 23rd minute, however, as he cleaned up the rebound with a low shot to the left corner after Marlon Vargas had created space for an initial shot that was blocked by Sulte.

The Defiance’s Azriel Gonzalez went close to adding to the visitor’s lead five minutes later only to be denied by Sulte, but four minutes before halftime Tacoma struck again. Off a corner from the right, Danny Robles’ delivery to the near post was put home by a powerful header from Tacoma captain Taylor Mueller.

Tacoma added a third on Diaz’s second goal of the night two minutes into the second half. Gonzalez won possession in his own half and flicked a pass forward to Diaz on the left. The 18-year-old steamed forward into the T2 half and set himself up perfectly for a low shot to the right corner that marked his fourth goal in the past three games.

Portland almost pulled a goal back in the 55th minute when a cleverly conceived free kick opened up a chance for Ken Krolicki from the right side of the penalty area, but his finish found the side netting instead of the target. Krolicki also threatened with a long-range strike that was saved by Tacoma goalkeeper Christian Herrera with 20 minutes to go.

The Defiance made sure of the victory in the 72nd minute, though, as Diaz was played in on goal by Collin Fernandez, and the striker unselfishly laid on a lateral pass to Jesus Perez for a tap-in finish to wrap up an impressive display by the visitors

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Alec Diaz, Tacoma Defiance – Diaz scored twice and added an assist, put all four of his shots on target and completed two key passes and 9 of 11 overall to lead Defiance to another impressive victory.

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