Bagley's first goal gives Timbers win in Atlanta

ATLANTAForward Chris Bagley scored his first goal of the season in the 65th minute to give the Portland Timbers a 1-0 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium on Saturday night.

The Timbers (11-2-3, 36pts) set a new franchise record with their seventh consecutive win, breaking the previous mark set in 2004 when the team opened the season with six straight victories. Portland maintained their five-point margin atop the USL First Division standings with the victory.

Goalkeeper Bayard Elfvin came on to replace injured starter Josh Wicks at halftime and made several key saves in the second half to help the Timbers’ defense record their ninth shutout of the season.

The Silverbacks (7-5-5, 25pts) dropped their second straight match and had a three-game home win streak snapped with the loss.

Second-half substitute David Hague set up Portland’s goal with a long run through the middle of the pitch before firing off a shot from just beyond the edge of the area. Atlanta goalkeeper Ryan McIntosh had to make a diving save to his right to deny Hague but Bagley rushed in to tap home the rebound and record his first goal as a Timber.

Elfvin, playing in only his third match of the season, made three saves in the second half to preserve the clean sheet after Wicks left the game with a knee injury. Atlanta’s David Hayes forced Elfvin to dive to keep out his long shot in the 47th minute and the Portland goalkeeper denied the Silverbacks’ Rodrigo Rios from point-blank range in the 63rd. Former Timber Dan Antoniuk volleyed wide from eight yards out in the 69th minute and then one minute later, settled a cross in the middle of the area before shooting straight at the chest of Elfvin.

Leonard Griffin narrowly missed giving the Timbers an early lead in the 23rd minute when he cut to the middle of the pitch, beat two defenders and rifled a shot from 30 yards out that slammed off the crossbar in the right corner of the goal.
 
The Timbers conclude their two-game East Coast road trip in Charleston tomorrow when they take on the Charleston Battery. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. (Pacific).

Notes: Portland played without midfielder Andrew Gregor, who missed the game due to suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in Thursday’s win against Vancouver at PGE Park … Justin Thompson wore the captain’s armband in Gregor’s absence … the Timbers are now 4-2-0 on the road in 2007 … Antoniuk was a member of the Timbers from 2003-2005.

Lineups:
ATL: GK McIntosh, D Moore (Rivillo, 72), D Hayes, D Bobo, D Lancaster, M Buete, M Rios, M McManus, M Hassim (O’Brien 79), F Antoniak, F Uhka (Wolfe, 66)

POR: Wicks (Elfvin, 45), D S. Thompson, D Knowles, D J. Thompson, D Griffin, M Higgins (Hague 66), M Lara, M Poltl, M Olum (Dombrowski 71), F Jordan, F Bagley (Morrison 75)

Scoring Summary:
POR: Bagley (Hague), 65