Reds Look to Finish Strong Against Portland Sunday
EUGENE — Lane United is set to host in-state rival Portland Timbers U23 in the season finale Sunday at the Les Schwab Sports Park. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm.
The Reds (3-5-5 PDL, 8-5-5 Overall) are looking to finish strong after posting a 7-1 victory over Victoria and earning a 1-1 draw against division leader Calgary in their last two PDL matches. The latter being the third point earned this year against the 2016 national finalists.
Portland (7-2-4 PDL) enters the last match of the season having clinched a playoff spot in the Northwest Division. The Timbers will face Calgary in the play-in game, with the host to be determined based on this week’s results.
For Lane United head coach John Galas, his message to the team won’t be anything different from the approach they’ve had all season.
“Cup final mentality,” Galas said. “We want to win regardless of where we are in the table and regardless of the opponent. We’re looking to finish the season on a high note and reward our fans who have been great all year with three points.”
The matchups with Portland take on a bigger meaning than other opponents in the league to some of the Lane United players. A few of them have played for both programs during their careers and want to perform at their best when taking on friends and former teammates.
One of those players is defender Peter Prescott, a member of the Timbers U23’s last season and a part of the program for five years all together.
“It’s always fun when we play them and there’s certainly a little more to it,” Prescott said. “We play a lot of these guys in college and we know them well. It’ll be a really good thing for us to try and get the victory Sunday. It’s a rivalry through and through.”
Portland may be playing Sunday for the right to host the play-in match for the PDL playoffs against Calgary. Foothills FC lead the Timbers by two points heading into their match vs. Victoria Sunday afternoon. The Timbers will know whether they have that option available before they kickoff against Lane United.
“Depending on who they select for the match we expect them to come out and play for three points, however the personnel on the field may be a bit different,” John Galas said. “System wise I expect them to roll out in a 4-3-3 with high pressure and look to get their outside backs as far up the field as possible. They play good football and they are possession oriented much like us.”
In what has been three tense and physical matches between Lane United and Portland so far this season, Sunday is sure to be very similar with playoff ramifications and pride on the line for the two sides.
The players for the Reds want this group to be remembered as one that continued to build the Lane United program and recorded the most PDL points in LUFC’s short history.
“We want to finish this season strong, all the guys are excited to play,” Peter Prescott said. “Each year Lane United has gotten better and better and we really want to make a name for ourselves.”
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