Eric Miller scoring the lone Timbers goal vs. PSA Elite

The Portland Timbers U-23s played their first ever US Open Cup match on Thursday night at JELD-WEN Field, and despite getting many scoring chances (and outshooting PSA Elite 17-7 in the second half), the Timbers managed only a lone goal, a 56th minute strike by Eric Miller in a 3-1 loss to PSA Elite.  Davis Paul had two goals for the U.S. Adult Soccer Associate side, while Christian Ramirez had the third.  PSA Elite features three former Timbers in Edwin Miranda, Luc Harrington, and Cameron Dunn (Dunn did not play).


The Timbers had much of the early possession, and in just the 2nd minute, had a great scoring chance of a corner kick, with Steven Evans ending up with an open look near the top of the box, but his high shot was tipped well over the bar by PSA Elite goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon.  Eight minutes later it was the Timbers with another good chance, with Roberto Farfan turning well to get an open chance inside the PSA Elite box,  but his shot was well over the crossbar.


Christian Ramirez had the first good look for the visitors in the 13th minute, making a nice run to the top of the box but his low shot was saved by Timbers goalkeeper Richey Spencer.  Starting in the 20th minute, the Timbers had three good looks in short succession by Marc Tonkel, Andrew Ribeiro, and Mark Sherrod, but their shots slipped either wide right or wide left.


Though the Timbers had controlled much of the run of play to this point, it was PSA Elite who would break through first in the 24th minute, when a long throw-in from the sideline by Joseph Sofia found Davis Paul unmarked near the penalty spot, and the midfielder finished well with his head past Spencer, and the visitors had a 1-0 lead.


The Timbers would come within inches of tying the score three minutes later, when Sheddon’s header would beat Whiddon, but rang off the crossbar before being cleared.


The run of play then switched to the visitors for the second part of the first half, and after a few near misses by William Lopez and Brent Whitfield, they would double their lead in the 39th minute when Jonathan Prieto would find Ramirez near the top of the box, and Ramirez would blast a high shot that would beat Spencer and slip just under the crossbar for the 2-0, which would be the score at the halftime break.


Three minutes into the second half, a fortuitous bounce nearly drew the Timbers a goal closer, when a shot by Eric Miller deflected wildly off a PSA Elite defender, but the shot ended up close to Whiddon and he was able to collect the shot.


In the 56th minute, another fortunate deflection for the Timbers would pay off this time, when after a shot by Tonkel was blocked, it would rebound directly to the foot of Miller, who controlled the ball then blasted low and to the keeper’s left and into the net to bring the Timbers back to within a goal at 2-1.


Starting in about the 75th minute, the Timbers would have several great chances to level, first when Sherrod turned inside after a run down the left side, but his hard shot was pushed wide by Whiddon.  Shortly afterwards, there would be a lot of activity in front of the PSA Elite goal,  with Evans ending up with an open look about 10 yards out, but this shot too was pushed wide.  In the 88th minute, the Timbers had another great chance when a shot by midfielder Cam Vickers was cleared off the line by former Timber Edwin Miranda.


Shortly afterwards, the visitors would put the match away when Ramirez found Paul open again, this time at the top of the box, and he would finish high in a shot similar to the second PSA Elite goal, slipping just under the crossbar for the 3-1 lead.  The Timbers would have a few good chances in stoppage time, the best being Clark Phillips’ open header that was right at Whiddon, but could not find the net again, and would fall in their first US Open Cup match, 3-1.