Timbers, Atlanta end in 0-0 draw
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers earned their league-leading 10th shutout of the season and remain unbeaten at home as they battled the Atlanta Silverbacks to a 0-0 draw in front of 6,598 at PGE Park Thursday night. Portland newcomer Matt Taylor took four shots and nearly found the back of the net early on.
The Timbers out shot Atlanta (7-7-5, 26pts) 17-8 in the contest but Silverbacks goalkeeper Ryan McIntosh recorded eight saves to earn his fourth shutout of the season and keep the Timbers scoreless for the second straight match. Portland has only been shutout four times this season.
Portland continues to play well at home and have remained unbeaten at PGE Park with a record of 7-0-4 and now has six shutouts. Goalkeeper Josh Wicks recorded his league-leading ninth shutout of the season. With the draw, the Timbers improve to 11-3-4 (37pts) and maintain their spot at the top of the USL First Division with a six-point lead over the Seattle Sounders.
Taylor, making his Portland debut after signing on Wednesday, nearly put the Timbers on the board in the 9th minute but his shot from the edge of the penalty area rattled off the top right corner of the frame.
Early in the second half, forward Chris Bagley nearly found the back of the net on two occasions. In the 52nd minute, Bagley headed a cross by Leonard Griffin at the far post but the outstretched arm of McIntosh on a diving save knocked the ball wide. Minutes later, Bagley was able to get a head on the ball off a corner kick but his looping shot was cleared off the line by an Atlanta defender.
Late in the match, McIntosh made two point-blank saves on a two-shot sequence to keep the score knotted a 0-0. Portland second-half substitute David Hague blasted a shot from the top of the box which was stopped by McIntosh. Then Timbers midfielder Andrew Gregor followed up with a shot on the rebound inside 12 yards but it too was denied by McIntosh.
The Timbers played Thursday's match without forward Bryan Jordan who was serving a one-game, league-imposed suspension for being ejected from the July 22 match in Charleston, S.C. In 17 matches, Jordan has scored four goals and recorded an assist.
Portland played England's Preston North End on Saturday at PGE Park in The Oregonian Timbers vs. Preston North End Exhibition presented by Widmer at 7 p.m. Tickets are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at (503) 224-4400 and online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Notes: Gregor was issued his eighth caution of the season meaning he must serve a two-game, league-imposed suspension. The league will determine which games on Monday.
POR – GK Wicks, D Griffin (Harrington, 87), D Knowles, D J. Thompson, S. Thompson, M Higgins, M Poltl, M Gregor, M Kreamalmeyer, F Bagley (Hague 78), F M. Taylor
ATL – GK McIntosh, D Hayes (Buete, 88), D Bobo, D Hudson, D Lancaster, M Rivillo (Rios, 70), M McManus, M Liendo (O'Brien, 72), M Hassim (Moore, 62), F Antoniuk, F Wolfe (Ukah, 80)