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Phoenix's Rufat Dadashov notches a hat trick in front of 6,585 fans in Scottsdale.

COURTESY PHOTO - Members of the Timbers 2 huddle during last weekend's season opener at Phoenix Rising FC, March 7, in Scottsdale, Arizona.Off and running.

The Timbers 2 (T2) of the USL kicked-off the 2020 regular season against Phoenix Rising FC this past Saturday, March 7, at Casino Arizona Field in Scottsdale, Arizona, and while things didn't go as they may have hoped, the team is excited to be back on the pitch and competing for a USL title.

"It was good to get back out here with the team," T2 midfielder Blake Bodily. "Obviously not the result that we wanted, but it was nice getting back out here with the Timbers organization and being a part of it again."

Unfortunately for T2 fans, it was all about the home team on this night, as the Rising defeated Portland 6-1. Despite the loss, Bodily cited some of the team's obvious mistakes, but also noted that there would be much to learn when he and his teammates had an opportunity to look at the video of the game.

"There are always learning lessons in these types of games," Bodily said. "So I think we'll look back on video and see what we can improve on, whether that's defensively or attacking, but moving forward we need to be sharper on both ends of the field."

Phoenix's Rufat Dadashov did the bulk of the heavy lifting for the Rising, scoring three goals, two of which came as part of a first half barrage that led to a 3-1 halftime lead. Portland got its goal in stoppage time when Tomas Conechny netted a header just before half.

Dadashov, an Azerbaijani striker who spent a fair amount of time in the German Leagues over the past decade, scored his goals in the 13th, 24th and 65th minutes. In addition to Dadashov, the Rising got goals from Junior Flemings (31), Lagos Kunga (90) and Solomon Asante (90+3).

Portland's Hunter Sulte got his first start in goal for T2. The 17-year-old keeper who also plays for the Timbers U-17 team, had a rough go of it Saturday night, but despite the loss, Sulte was excited to suit up for T2 and equally excited for what might be to come.

"Overall I felt pretty great," Sulte said. "There were definitely nerves in the beginning, but after getting through warmups I always feel pretty good and was ready to go."

Portland took just 11 shots in the game, four on goal, and all of which were by Conechny.

Phoenix took 31 shots, 14 of which were on goal.

Attendance for the game was 6,585.

Portland will next travel to El Paso, Texas for a 6:30 p.m. (PST) game against El Paso Locomotive FC Saturday, March 14, at Southwest University Park, then will return home for their home-opener Sunday, March 22, at Hillsboro Stadium.


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