PORTLAND, Ore. – Jorge Gonzalez scored twice as the Portland Timbers 2 took a 3-1 victory against Tacoma Defiance on Thursday night at Providence Park, evening the season series between the rivals at two wins apiece. Gonzalez now has six goals in his last four games for Portland, which has won three of those outings.
Tacoma created the first chance in just the third minute as Alec Diaz created space to cross from the left byline but Reed Baker-Whiting’s near-post finish went just wide of the left upright. T2 then threatened as Harold Hanson kept an attack alive after a low cross through the penalty area reached him just outside the top-right edge of the box, but his curling effort after cutting centrally was deflected over the crossbar.
Hanson would be key as T2 took the lead in the 12th minute, however, as Portland shifted play from left to right in the attacking third, bringing possession to the right back. Hanson cut toward the goal line and created enough space for a cross to the back post that was met on the volley by Gonzalez, and the Spaniard’s finish crossed the line before Tacoma goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky could get across to save.
Portland almost doubled its lead midway through the first half as Hanson somehow kept play alive near the goal line despite being confronted by two defenders and poked a pass to Giovanni Calixtro at the top of the six-yard area. Calixtro shot quickly, but Klenofsky was well positions to save before his defense managed to keep out T2’s chance on the rebound.
Trailing at halftime, Tacoma pulled level less than two minutes after the second half began. Ray Serrano delivered a good ball from the right channel to the left flank to Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, who skipped past a defender as he cut toward the goal line before delivering a cutback cross that picked out Danny Robles for a sharp first-time finish to the right corner.
As quickly as the Defiance pulled level, though, T2 regained their advantage as Marcus Epps continued his recent good form in the 49th minute. Epps stole possession in the Tacoma half and quickly moved forward into the penalty area, then drifted past two defenders as he cut right across the box and fired low into the right corner of the net for his third goal in as many games.
Portland should have added a third five minutes later as Carlos Anguiano recycled possession after his corner kick from the right was initially clear and delivered a ball to the back post that was knocked down by Max Ornstil only for Calixtro to send his half-volleyed finish well over the crossbar.
Epps then threatened for his second with 16 minutes to go as a clever free kick found him in space on the left side of the penalty area as the cluster of targets assembled on the right, but after finding space to shoot his effort was turned wide by Klenofsky. Off the ensuing corner kick, however, T2’s Dyson Clapier was brought down in the penalty area by Alex Villanueva and Gonzalez stepped up to the spot and fired into the top-right corner to make it a two-goal game.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Jorge Gonzalez, Portland Timbers 2 – Gonzalez scored twice and put four of his five shots overall on target while also completing 25 of 34 passes and winning 4 of 4 tackles.