Photo courtesy of Orange County SC
IRVINE, Calif. – For just the second time this season, the Portland Timbers 2 generated multiple goals in a match. T2 was also in position for a victory, while playing with a 10-9 man advantage, but host Orange County found one last moment down the stretch to split the points on its home ground. Gustavo Villalobos scored in the first minute of second-half stoppage time as Orange County drew 3-3 with the Timbers 2 on Saturday at Orange County Great Park. Villyan Bijev led the way for Portland with a brace, scoring once in each half. Russell Cicerone also added a score for Portland, which scored a season-high three goals. Aside from Villalobos, Orange County scored back-to-back goals in the early stages of the second half with Carlos Alvarez in the 57th minute and Roy Meeus converting a penalty kick for the second time in as many games in the 63rd minute. The Timbers 2 move to 1-13-2 (5 points) overall and 1-6-1 on the road. Orange County is now 4-4-2 (14 points) overall and 2-1-1 at home.
31’ – POR – Villyan Bijev (Tomas Granitto)
57’ – OC – Carlos Alvarez
63’ – OC – Roy Meeus (penalty)
71’ – POR – Russell Cicerone (Max Ornstil)
85’ – POR – Villyan Bijev (penalty)
90’+1 – OC – Gusavo Villalobos (Monday Etim)
#OCvPOR: Full match and Opta box score
Three Things That Mattered:
1. Orange County was reduced to nine men and Portland to 10 in the closing moments of the match. Jerry van Ewijk and Amirgy Pineda were sent off for OCSC while Lamar Batista was sent off for Portland. Despite being shorthanded with nine, Orange County capitalized on its free kick in the first minute of second-half stoppage time as Gustavo Villalobos somehow snuck in toward the back to find the equalizer at 3-3 to cap off a chaotic turn of events.
2. With only eight goals over the course of 15 games heading in – as well as only one goal in its previous four games – Portland’s offense has yet to come to fruition. Villyan Bijev, the key orchestrator of the club’s attack over the past year and a half, stepped up with a well-directed header to take a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute. Tomas Granitto whipped in a corner kick from the left side and Bijev rushed on and redirected perfectly toward the far right post to grab the one-goal advantage. Though Portland lost the lead, T2 did find a response to Orange County’s back-to-back strikes. Russell Cicerone rushed into the six-yard area to finish off a header cross from Max Ornstil to tie the score at 2-2 in the 71st minute. The play started with a beautifully whipped in corner kick from Blake Bodily. Then to cap it off, Bijev’s hesitation approach with his 85th-minute penalty kick found the open space of the left side of the frame to give Portland the lead again at 3-2 with his sixth tally of the season.
3. Orange County overcame an early deficit with two straight goals in the second half. OCSC drew a free kick just outside the box, and Carlos Alvarez converted with poise. With basically half of Portland’s roster positioned on the wall, Alvarez managed to lift his strike just enough over the bevy of bodies and found the left side of the frame to pull host OCSC level at 1-1 in the 57th minute. Roy Meeus followed with a hesitation penalty kick attempt six minutes later that had McIntosh moving in the opposite direction that gave Orange County a 2-1 lead at the time.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Villyan Bijev, Portland Timbers 2 – Bijev recorded a pair of goals to lead the way for Portland’s attack, which posted a season-high three goals overall.
Orange County SC vs. Phoenix Rising FC – July 8, 8 p.m. ET, Orange County Great Park
Portland Timbers 2 vs. LA Galaxy II – July 9, 5 p.m. ET, Providence Park