PORTLAND, Or. – Saint Louis FC lost 1-0 away to Portland Timbers 2 in front of 1,441 fans at Providence Park in Match 28 of the USL Regular Season.
Portland scored the winning goal with only about 30 seconds left in the game as substitute Victor Arboleda was played behind the defense and slotted underneath the onrushing Tomas Gomez in second half stoppage time. The result sees Saint Louis FC fall to 10-8-9 and remain on 39 points while Portland Timbers 2 improves to 14-11-3 with 45 points in the USL Western Conference.
The first half saw Portland start strongly in possession though they did not create many chances until STLFC grew into the game around the 31st minute mark as Lewis Hilton took a shot from outside the penalty box that was saved by Portland goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh. Michael Cox then had a good effort saved by McIntosh after he was played behind the defense by Joey Calistri in the 33rd minute before Calistri had a chance himself in the 40th minute when he was found on the edge of the area by Albert Dikwa but his shot went narrowly wide. Saint Louis FC had two great chances to finish the half, the first through Hilton who had his free kick palmed away from the top corner by McIntosh in the 45th minute and then Cox had a sliding effort from a corner kick cleared off the goal line in stoppage time to see the sides even at 0-0 going into the halftime break.
The second half saw Saint Louis FC pick up where they left off in the first half as Dikwa found Cox with a cross in the 57th minute that was hit over the crossbar on the first-time effort. Both teams would make a number of substitutions to hopefully change the game and Austin Martz nearly provided the catalyst for the away side as he created space down the left and found Dikwa with the cross but his shot went over the crossbar in the 87th minute. It would then be Portland substitute Arboleda that would make the difference on the counter attack as burst behind the STLFC defense and fired his shot under Gomez for the winning goal in the 93rd minute.
“Soccer can be a cruel game sometimes,” said STLFC Head Coach Anthony Pulis. “I could not be prouder of the way the guys played tonight. Anyone that watched the game will see that we were the team in the ascendency and we dictated the game for long stretches. Unfortunately, we learned the hard way that you have to finish your chances when they come and stay switched on for 93 minutes at the other end. There are lots of positives from the performances over the last two games, but at this stage it’s the results that are more important.”