FRESNO, Calif. - Christian Chaney's stoppage-time equalizer saw the Foxes salvage a point against Portland Timbers 2 on Saturday night at downtown Fresno's Chukchansi Park. Trailing 2-1 with just seconds remaining, Fresno FC's Don Smart volleyed a cross into the box that Chaney leaped over the defenders to connect with, putting it just out of reach of Portland's Alex Mangels to make the game level.
A pair of early mistakes saw the Foxes give away two penalties to Timbers 2 - which they converted. However, the Foxes clawed their way back in the final 20 minutes of the match for a 2-2 draw in front of 6,103 fans.
Fresno got on the board at the 70th minute when Zachary Ellis-Hayden found a loose rebound from Myer Bevan's shot which went off a defender and near the top of the box where Ellis-Hayden fired it home on the one-time finish. The Foxes kept knocking, as Chaney, who entered as a substitute at the 71st minute, saw his low long-distance strike pushed away by Mangels. Cory Brown's header at the 82nd minute nearly produced an equalizer but it missed right.
That was until the fifth and final minute of stoppage time that saw the Foxes split the points with Timbers 2 by way of Chaney's sixth goal of the season.
Photo by Kiel Maddox / Fresno FC
Portland went ahead at the 7th minute when Fresno's Matthew Baldisimo was whistled for a foul on Jack Barmby near the top of the penalty area. Barmby lined up to convert the finish. On the next play, goalkeeper Mark Pais was called for the foul on Portland's Marvin Loria on the right side of the box that allowed the visitors to double their lead. It was the eighth, and ninth penalties made this season for Timbers 2.
The Foxes eventually found their first solid chance at the 27th minute when Juan Pablo Caffa was fouled by Andre Lewis at the edge of Fresno's attacking third, but the captain's set-piece opportunity missed just over the crossbar. Fresno's Danny Barrera and Ellis-Hayden began finding creative space down the left wing. At the 37th minute, Ellis-Hayden sent a volley over the defense to Bevan, who laid off a slow ball to Caffa, but his shot was blocked by Portland's Alex Mangels.
It was the first in a series of saves for Mangels, as the Foxes kept knocking at the door well into the first half stoppage time. Ellis-Hayden's strike at the 44th minute was blocked by a Portland defender and then chances from Caffa and Bevan were stopped by Mangels to keep the visitors in front.
After halftime, tensions rose as three yellow cards were dished out in the first 20 minutes of the second half. The first went to Baldisimo for a harsh tackle that flipped Marco Farfan near midfield. A total of six yellow cards were shown in the match - four to Fresno FC and two to the visitors.
With the draw, Portland Timbers 2 moves to 16W-12L-3D to clinch a spot in the USL Cup Western Conference Playoffs. Fresno FC moves to 9W-11L-11D for in 12th in the Western Conference standings. The Foxes play next at Rio Grande Valley FC Toros on Saturday, September 29th with kickoff set for 5:30 p.m. PT. Fresno plays next at home on Friday, October 5th, when Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC makes the trip to central California. Tickets for that match are available for purchase at tickets.fresnofc.com and the Chukchansi Park Box Office.
Ellis-Hayden started the comeback with a goal at the 70th minute and led the Foxes with an 85.7% passing percentage.