Highlanders Drop Narrow 2-1 Loss in Salem, Oregon

by Joshua Rendle

Photo: Kelly Wallace

VICTORIA, BC - Victoria Highlanders FC (3-7-0) dropped a closely fought matchup versus MLS affiliate Portland Timbers U-23 (3-4-2), June 24, at McCulloch Stadium in Salem, Oregon.

Portland’s Blake Bodily scored a brace at 21-minutes and 65-minutes. Victoria’s Francesco Bartolillo cut the lead in half at 73-minutes but the visitors were unable to find an equalizer in Oregon.


The Highlanders traveled to Salem, Oregon for their second game on the road this week to face Portland Timbers U-23. With a massive 2-1 comeback win versus Lane United FC on Friday, Highlanders looked to take maximum points with a win versus Portland. Peter Schaale was in with Marcus Campanile while, youngster Joshua Walter was back in the midfield for the second consecutive game.

Portland kicked off the game looking to dictate the play early on. Despite the home side’s strong possession stats, Highlanders began to build into the game with a bright start from youngster Walter.

Walter played a ball into forward Chris Rushworth who found a great chance that was snuffed out by the Portland backline. Only minutes later Timbers had a great chance stopped by Victoria’s ‘keeper Ty Venhola to keep the match level.

Timbers U-23 continued to control much of the possession. At 21-minutes with some great build up play, the home team found a brilliant chance to claim the first goal of the game from Blake Bodily.

The best chance of the half for Victoria came from Mitchell Popadynetz who found some space, but was unable to convert sending the ball over the net. Timbers had a great chance before half hitting the post.

Highlanders entered halftime down a goal.

Victoria began the second half looking for a repeat of Friday night comeback win versus Lane United. Despite the summer heat, Highlanders came out pressing in the second half.

Portland found some space off the left at 65-minutes crossed into Bodily once again. He doubled his tally with a header back across the net for the second goal of the game.

Despite going down 2-0 the Highlanders were not going down without a fight. Multiple substitutions were made by the visiting Victoria side to bring fresh legs onto the pitch. At 73-minutes, Highlanders found a goal from Francesco Bartolillo, Friday night’s goalscorer, to cut Portland’s lead in half.

Victoria began to look increasingly dangerous in their attempt to find an equalizer. The visitors kept pushing but in the end were unable to find a way past Portland ‘keeper Mario Sequeira. The Highlander’s tough road trip down the Oregon Trail comes to a close with three points.

The Highlanders return to Centennial Stadium this Friday, June 29 versus Canadian rivals TSS FC Rovers. Kick-off is set for 6:35 p.m. PST. For more information,  please visit www.highlandersfc.ca.

Scoring Summary
VHFC: Bartolillo (73’)
POR: Bodily (21’, 65’)

VHFC: Montgomery (80’)
POR: Jimenez (58’), Tiozzo (79’)

Victoria Highlanders FC
Venhola (GK); Hall, Montgomery (C), Schaale , Heath; Shores (Gysbers 67’), Walter, Campanile (Smith 62’), Popadynetz; Cole (Bartolillo 67’), Rushworth (Sturrock 67’)

Portland Timbers U-23
Sequeira (GK); Tiozzo, Kohn, Tchilao, Groenendijk; Haji (Shimazaki 67’), Martinez, Riley (Hubenya 67’), Lopez; Bodily (Zhividze 67’), Jimenez (Segovia 62’)