PORTLAND, Ore. — Benji Michel scored two goals, Rey Ortiz finished with two assists, and the Pilots handed No. 9 Western Michigan their first loss of the season as Portland rolled to a 4-1 win over the Broncos on Friday night at Merlo Field. Three of Portland’s goals came in the second half after the two teams entered the break tied 1-1.
Michel’s first goal gave the Pilots (5-4-0) the early lead when he was on the end of a great ball played forward by Matthew Coffey in the fourth minute. Michel collected it, took a couple of touches, and hit it perfectly past the keeper and inside the left post for a fantastic finish. Michel’s seventh goal of the year handed the Pilots a 1-0 lead, and Coffey gets his first assist.
The Broncos (9-1-1) then pushed for the equalizer, and they found it in the 10th minute when a bouncing ball sent in on a free kick took a few deflections on its way through the box, before being deposited into the back of the net. Jay McIntosh was credited with the goal, and Kosti Moni and Zach Bock each claimed an assist.
— Portland Pilots (@PortlandPilots) September 30, 2017
The game was evenly played for the remainder of the first half, and Gio Magana-Rivera nearly handed the home side the lead when took a crack at goal from 18 yards out in the 32nd minute. But Western Michigan goalkeeper Drew Shepherd made a diving, one-handed save to send the two teams into the halftime locker room level 1-1.
The second half belonged to the Pilots as they scored three unanswered goals en route to the win. Erik Edwardson tallied the game-winner when he provided a finishing touch on a ball sent in by Malcolm Dixon. Rey Ortiz played a well-time ball into space that Dixon ran onto before sending a service towards the area. The goal is Edwardson’s first of the fall.
Next to find the back of the net was Coffey, who flicked in a header off a free kick whipped in by Ortiz. The goal is also the first of the season for Coffey, and Ortiz increases his assist total to eight on the year.
— UP Men’s Soccer (@UPMensSoccer) September 26, 2017
Michel then capped the scoring for the Pilots with his league-best eighth goal in the 85th minute. After a couple of near misses by Edwardson and Jason Romero, Michel took a pass from Romero before easily beating Shepherd in a 1-v-1 to make it a 4-1 game.
Portland goalkeeper Paul Christensen helped preserve the lead with five saves on the night.
Portland next travels to Charlottesville, Va., to face their second straight top-10 opponent when the Virginia Cavaliers host the Pilots on Monday night.