North Sound SeaWolves fall to Portland Timbers in season opener

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Andres Suazo of the SeaWolves goes against Jose Ribas of Portland. (Photo by Joleen Sims)
Andres Suazo of the SeaWolves goes against Jose Ribas of Portland. (Photo by Joleen Sims)

By Mike Allende

Two first-half goals were too much to overcome as the North Sound SeaWolves fell to the Portland Timbers U-23 team 2-1 in a Premier Development League match in front of 1,296 fans Saturday afternoon at Edmonds Stadium.

Clark Phillips scored in the 11th and 16th minutes for Portland (2-0). David Durant scored in the 69th minute for the SeaWolves.

“It’s a good starting point for us,” said SeaWolves coach Ed Moore, making his debut for the team. “I thought both of their goals came from bad turnovers but those are things we can fix.”

Phillips got the Timbers on the board early, firing a header off a cross from Jaime Velasco into the net for a 1-0 lead. Five minutes later, SeaWolves defender Nick Hamer fell down handling the ball and Phillips – Hamer’s teammate at Gonzaga – took control and easily beat North Sound keeper Ryan Herman 1-on-1 for a 2-0 Portland lead.

“You could tell in the first 20 minutes our guys were nervous,” Moore said. “But we regrouped and came together and it was nice to see us respond well to getting down early.”

The SeaWolves had a couple chances to get on the scoreboard in the first half. In the 19th minute Victor Vasquez collected a loose ball in front of the Portland goal but Vasquez’s shot was just knocked away by Portland keeper David Meves. Meves also made a diving save on a low shot by Brad Jacobson.

Durant, a native of Nottingham, England, came on in the 63rd minute and six minutes later he found the back of the net, firing a long shot past Meves for North Sound’s first goal of the season.

“It was a good, spirited effort,” Durant said. “We were unlucky to not get a point but we just have to cut out some mistakes.”

The SeaWolves continued to push forward. Zach Hamer missed high off a volley three minutes after Durant’s goal. In extra time, Josh Heard crossed a ball into the goal box to Durant but his shot was knocked away. Durant returned the favor, crossing to a charging Heard but Meves made a save.

The SeaWolves next play on Saturday, May 25 against the Victoria Highlanders at Royal Athletic Park. The next home match is June 7 against the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23 team.

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