Thompson nets winner in front of record crowd

PORTLAND, Ore. - In front of the largest crowd in modern franchise history, defender Justin Thompson scored his first goal of the season to give the Portland Timbers a 1-0 win over the Charleston Battery on Thursday night at PGE Park. The 15,833 in attendance also helped the Timbers set a new franchise record for regular-season attendance at 95,594, breaking the previous mark set in 2002.
 
This season at PGE Park this season, the Timbers (12-4-8,44pts) have had 95,594 fans at 14 regular-season home matches, breaking the previous franchise-high of 87,648 set in 2002. The 15,833 on hand Thursday is the largest crowd since 2001 to watch a Timbers match at PGE Park. Until Thursday, the 15,182 that watched the Timbers' exhibition match against England's Sunderland AFC in 2005 had been the modern-franchise record.
 
With the win, the Timbers improve their home record to 8-0-6, and become just the third team in the USL First Division since 2000 to record an unbeaten home record in a season. The last team to accomplish the feat was the Rochester Raging Rhinos in 2001, who assembled a 11-0-3 record at home on their way to capturing the 2001 USL First Division Championship.
 
Goalkeeper Josh Wicks recorded four saves to earn his league-leading 12th shutout of the season and his league-high 11th win. The Timbers' victory over Charleston is the team's first win in over a month. Portland was 0-2-5 in its last seven matches.   
 
The Battery (8-11-5, 29pts), have now lost their last seven consecutive road matches.
 
Thompson scored the game-winning goal in the 79th minute to help Portland break its seven match winless streak. The defender received the ball after midfielder Neil Dombrowski's shot was deflected in the box by a Charleston player. Thompson collected the rebound and looped the ball into the back of the net over Battery goalkeeper Dusty Hudock.
 
In the first half, the Timbers outshot the Battery 7-4 including one by forward Matt Taylor in the 32nd minute. Taylor worked the ball into open space in the top right corner of the area but his left-footed shot sailed over the crossbar.
 
Portland almost took a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute on a flurry of activity in front of the Charleston goal. Timbers defender Scot Thompson had seemingly put the finishing touch on the ball but the goal was called back by referee Colin Arblaster due to a hand ball. The Timbers have had two goals in the last two home matches waived due to a hand ball foul.
 
The Timbers head to the Southeast this weekend for matches against Miami FC and the Puerto Rico Islanders. Portland faces Miami on Saturday at 5 p.m. (Pacific), and then Puerto Rico on Sunday at 3 p.m. (Pacific). An online audio broadcast will not be available for either match, but a video webcast is available at USL Live at www.usllive.com.
 
Notes: The Timbers raised $3,042 through a silent auction for the Muscular Dystrophy Association on Thursday with the team’s second annual Jersey-Off-Our-Back Night fundraiser. Midfielder Andrew Gregor's jersey received the highest bid at $300 ... Timbers forward Chris Bagley made his first appearance in five matches after suffering an abdominal injury in July ... Thompson's goal was his second total goal of the season, he scored previously this season against the Seattle Sounders in a U.S. Open Cup match in June ... Portland's last win was on July 21 - a 1-0 win over Atlanta on the road.
 
Lineups:
POR: GK Wicks, D Griffin, D J. Thompson, D Knowles, D S. Thompson, M Higgins (Hague, 75), M Dombrowski (Poltl, 88), M Gregor, M Kreamalmeyer (Jordan, 64), F M. Taylor (Bagley, 66), F Olum
 
CHA: GK Hudock, D Nylen, D Karalexis, D Corcoran, D Curran, M Tousaint, M Alavanja (Uzoigwe, 72), M Fuller, M Richardson (King, 82), M Vercollone (Hughes, 86), F Alvarez
 
Scoring Summary:
POR: Thompson, 79