Hague hat trick leads to 4-1 win over Victory

PORTLAND, Ore. – Forward David Hague recorded the first hat trick of the season as the Timbers defeated the California Victory 4-1 at PGE Park on Sunday. With their fifth win in a row, the Timbers set a new franchise record having played 388 minutes without allowing a goal and move into first place in the USL First Division. Hague’s hat trick is the first by any player in the 2007 USL First Division season.

The Timbers (9-2-3, 30pts) swept the five-game season series against the Victory and continue their unbeaten record at home with a 6-0-3 record at PGE Park this season. The Timbers defense contributed on the offensive side of the field as defender Cameron Knowles tallied a goal and an assist and goalkeeper Josh Wicks picked up his second assist of the year on a long punt to Hague.

In the win, the Victory (2-10-5, 11pts) ended Portland's streak of four consecutive shutouts scoring their first goal in five matches against the Timbers. Despite the goal, the Timbers set a new franchise record in consecutive minutes played without allowing a goal at 388 - a streak that spanned over six matches starting June 21. The Timbers also picked up their fifth straight victory and are now just one win shy of matching the franchise record for consecutive wins set in 2004 when Portland won the USL First Division Regular-Season Championship.

Hague, who entered the match as a sub in the 67th minute, scored all three goals in a 20 minute span with a one man advantage as California’s Ricardo Sanchez was ejected in the 54th minute. In the 68th minute, Hague found space in the box after receiving the ball from Andrew Gregor. After a quick cut back, Hague blasted a 10-yard shot into the back of the net past Victory goalkeeper Eric Reed.

Eight minutes later, Hague got under a long ball over the top by Wicks. Off the bounce Hague buried a 13-yard shot for his second goal of the game in the 74th minute, giving Wicks his second assist of the year and marks the second time this season Hague has finished a punt by Wicks.

In the 88th minute, Hague capped the night’s scoring with a chip shot over Reed. Knowles cleared a ball from the Timbers defensive third as Hague chased down the ball. Getting into position, Hague finished his third goal of the night off the bounce inside the far post. Hague’s hat trick is the first Timbers’ hat trick since September 8, 2005 when Dan Antoniuk scored three in a 6-1 win over the Atlanta Silverbacks. Hague’s hat trick is also the first   by any player in the 2007 USL First Division season.

Down 1-0, Knowles headed in his second goal of the season to help the Timbers pull even in the 32nd minute. A foul on midfielder Tom Poltl set up a free kick by Andrew Gregor from 40 yards out. A long kick by Gregor skimmed off the head of Luke Kreamalmeyer and found Knowles waiting on the left post to head it in.

California took a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute on Federico Bianchi's first goal of the season. Bianchi weaved his way into the box and had his pass deflected by a Timbers defender and went right back into the path of Bianchi who then drilled a shot inside the far post.

The Timbers host the defending USL First Division Champion Vancouver Whitecaps on Thursday at PGE Park as Portland continues its stretch of five games in 10 days. Thursday’s match is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised live on Fox Sports Northwest.

Notes: Poltl made his first start since June 28 when he injured his hip ... When California scored in the 17th minute it marked the first time the Timbers had trailed in a league match since June 9 at Rochester ... Both of Knowles' goals this season have come against the Victory … The Victory only had 14 men suit for tonight’s match.

Lineups:
POR - GK Wicks, D Morrison, D Knowles, D Griffin (Meissner, 79), D S. Thompson, M Kreamalmeyer (Hague, 67), M Gregor, M Lara (Taylor, 68)(Harrington, 77), M Poltl, F Jordan, F Bagley (Higgins, 45)

CAL – GK Reed, D Aguilar, D Casillas, D Schwarze, D Aguayo (Munoz, 42), M Epite (Jakubek, 71), M Sanchez, M Morales, M Bianchi, F Hansen, F Chandler (Kim, 58)

Scoring Summary:
CAL: Bianchi, 17
POR: Knowles (Kreamalmeyer), 32
POR: Hague (Gregor), 68
POR: Hague (Wicks), 74
POR: Hague (Knowles), 88