The Austin Aztex (7-9-3) return home this weekend to take on Portland Timbers 2 (7-11-2) Saturday, August 1st at Kelley Reeves Athletic Complex. The Aztex are building momentum towards a strong end to their inaugural season in the USL. They won their last two games over Arizona United SC and are back in the mix for making the postseason playoffs.
Portland Timbers 2 are heading in the other direction. They have lost their last two matches to top of the table teams : Seattle Sounders 2 and LA Galaxy II. Portland was also held scoreless in those two games. However, the Timbers 2 attack should not be taken lightly. They have a dangerous forward line led by Kharlton Belmar. He leads the team with nine goals this season. Portland has scored more than three goals in a game five times. It is Portland’s defensive play that is their weakness. The Timbers 2 have kept a clean sheet only once in twenty games – the worst in the league.
The Aztex are clicking on both sides of the ball. For most of the season, the team relied on forward Kris Tyrpak for goals. In the last two games, Trevin Caesar, Brendan King, Sainey Touray as well as Kris Tyrpak have found the back of the net. Also, Columbus Crew SC loanee Romain Gall has come off the bench in the second half to influence games. On the other side of the ball, the Aztex have the 9th best defense in the league. The team stepped up its effort defending from the front to the back in the last two games. The backline has been consistent, but a question for this week will be the availability of center back Fernando Timbo. He picked up an injury in the last game. Timbo’s selection in the starting eleven will be a game time decision.
The Western Conference playoff race remains tight and looks to be heading to the last game of the season to know who’s in and who’s out. Aztex team captain Lance Rozeboom said the team needs to focus more on playing well and continue to build on recent performances than looking at the table. He also pointed out that since the Aztex moved to Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex the team is undefeated at home.
The game will also feature a special event. The founders of Helm Soccer Camp, Landon Donovan, Brian Ching and Stuart Holden will be in attendance. They will be playing during halftime against 3 lucky winners of a charity auction to benefit the Aztex Soccer Foundation.