July 8 Match Report: Foothills FC at Portland Timbers U23
Salem, Oregon - For the second straight road trip Calgary Foothills FC earned maximum points with a dramatic 1 - 0 victory over the Portland Timbers U23. The win extends Foothills's winning streak to 6 straight victories and gives the team confidence heading into the regular season finale on Saturday afternoon back at home in Okotoks vs the Seattle Sounders U23 squad.
With the defending 2017 North West Division Champion Portland Timbers U23 struggling this season at the bottom of the table coming into the match, they had something to prove to the newly crowned 2018 NW Division Champs and fought valiantly throughout the match all the way to its conclusion. The Timbers were well organized and defended well against the high scoring Foothills team and were able to create some chances of their own on the counter. The last time these two teams played back in May, it was Portland who scored a last second goal in the 90th minute to earn a 1-1 draw in Okotoks, however this time it was Foothills FC who scored late to earn the result on the road. For the second straight game it was a well timed substitution that proved to be the difference for Foothills as Willy Akio, a 65th minute substitute, volleyed home a Carlos Patino cross in the 87th minute to snatch victory from what looked like a certain scoreless draw.
"Lads were different class today in a tough one. To come on the road in a hot environment, the boys played well," said Head Coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr, "They've got the championship winning spirit because they're playing with a purpose, but what's pleasing is that we are finding ways to score in tight games which is something you need if you want to go all the way."
Coach Wheeldon was impressed with the depth the team showed this on this road trip with so many different players getting involved and proving they can win in a variety of ways, "We are keeping clean sheets, I think it's the seventh overall and Marco Carducci and the lads in front of him, Jay, Elijah, and Zat's are doing their job allowing the lads to find other ways to score goals."
The teams leader in minutes played this season, Elijah Adekugbe, has been a constant this season in the teams midfield that has been almost impenetrable and he couldn't be more pleased with his team's effort, "I thought it was a tough game but as a team, second game on the road, in difficult conditions because they have a good fan base and they make it a tough atmosphere. I thought we did well and showed our championship caliber and spirit and in the end that what's it's all about, good teams find a way to win. We are happy and proud and that's six points on another difficult road trip."
After its most successful regular season to date, Foothills FC will finish off its schedule at home against a very good Seattle Sounders U23 team that is currently sitting in second place in the NW Division and in the hunt for the final Western Conference playoff spot. The game will also be a matchup of the two leading scorers in the NW Division with Moses Danto leading the way for Foothills FC with 9 goals and Santiago Patino 1 goal behind with 8 for the Sounders. Coach Wheeldon is looking forward to the matchup, "Delighted on the result and excited to come home and will focus on our final game this season on July 14 and finish off with another performance in front of the home crowd."
Tickets for the exciting regular season finale can be purchased online at www.foothillsfc.ca or at the gate. Kickoff is at 2:00pm on Saturday July 14th at Foothills Composite High School in Okotoks.