PORTLAND, Ore. - The No. 18 Pacific men's soccer team comeback fell short on Saturday night as they fell to host Portland 3-1 to open up West Coast Conference action. Tariq Branche scored his third goal in two games off an assist from Bob Groenendijk, and goalie Curtis Goldsmith notched a pair of saves in the setback.
Pacific moves to 8-3 overall, 0-1 in WCC play while Portland improves to 6-5 this season, 1-0 in conference action.
The Tigers pressured in the offensive zone early, and in the fourth minute Andres Ochoa sent in a corner kick that found Johnatan Rico-Contreres, who took a header towards the far left post that curved just wide of the goal. Pacific was awarded another corner in the tenth, and after Ochoa sent it in the rebound found Christian Aldama who ripped a shot from outside the box that beat the Pilot 'keeper, but just went wide of the right post.
Going the other way the hosts took a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute when Erik Edwardson headed the ball off a cross from Billy Garton past Curtis Goldsmith for an early advantage. The Tigers created a chance for the equalizer in the 30th as Bob Groenendijk sent a set piece into the box looking for a streaking Tariq Branche, but the opportunity just missed and went out of play. Portland added to their score in the 37th when Benji Michel received the ball in the box and tapped it past a pressuring Goldsmith to make it 2-0.
In the 50th minute Branche put Pacific on the board as he dribbled around a series of defenders and punched it far post to make it 2-1, netting his third goal in two games. The Pilots were awarded a free kick right outside the box in the 77th and made it count as Rey Ortiz bent the ball in towards the far right post, bringing the score to 3-1. The Tiger offense created a couple more opportunities as they looked to cut into the deficit, however the Pilots remained stout in securing the win.
The Orange and Black continue their road trip next Friday, Oct. 13th when they take on San Francisco at 7 PM and wrap up the road trip against Santa Clara on Oct. 17th. The Tigers return home to welcome San Diego to Knoles Field on Oct. 27th at 7 PM.