Timbers fall to Atlanta on penalty kicks

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers’ 2007 season ended Sunday night at PGE Park falling to the Atlanta Silverbacks in the semifinal series 3-1 on penalties in front of 11,879. The Timbers out shot the Silverbacks 22-10 in the final leg of the series as the two sides finished regulation and series overtime tied at 0-0.
 
The Silverbacks advance to the 2007 USL First Division championship against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday in Seattle.
 
After overtime, Portland missed two of their first three penalty kicks – defender Leonard Griffin hit the Timbers' only penalty kick - while the Silverbacks delivered on their final three attempts to advance to the championship match for the first time in team history.  While the match ended in a draw, it was the first time Timbers had been beaten at home this season.
 
Atlanta’s league-leading offense was held to just 10 shots and Timbers goalkeeper Josh Wicks was forced to make only three saves through overtime.
 
The Timbers controlled the run of play in the first half as they out shot the Silverbacks 9-1. Atlanta didn’t get off their first shot until the 40th minute. Early in the match, defender Cameron Knowles had two shot attempts in a crowded box but both were blocked. In the 23rd minute, Andrew Gregor hit a shot off the crossbar from the top left corner of the six-yard box that deflected back into play.
 
Atlanta goalkeeper Ryan McIntosh recorded two saves in the first half and had some help from his backline. In the 27th minute, McIntosh left his line to punch away a ball played into the box but Knowles challenged on the play and headed the ball towards an open goal. Silverbacks’ defender Omar Jarun was able to get back to the goal line to head Knowles’ shot over the crossbar for a Timbers corner kick.
 
Portland continued its offensive pressure in the second half. In the 62nd minute, forward Bryan Jordan nearly clinched the series on a shot less than two yards from the goal line. A throw in by Griffin worked its way through the box to Jordan on the far post. Jordan had to settle the ball before his shot, allowing McIntosh time to react and knocked the ball over the crossbar.
 
Timbers midfielder Luke Kreamalmeyer had two chances to put the Timbers on the board late in the match. In the 81st minute, Kreamalmeyer took a low shot from the top of the box forcing McIntosh to make a diving save. Minutes later another shot by Kreamalmeyer inside the box was blocked by an Atlanta defender.
 
In the 90th minute, Gregor had a free kick from 23 yards out along the left post curl just inches wide of the far post. Jordan was fouled by Jarun to set up the opportunity.
 
The score was locked at 0-0 at the end of regulation, meaning the series was tied at 1-1, forcing the series to go into overtime. The Timbers defense held Atlanta to just one shot in the second half, a shot right at Wicks for his only save through regulation. Portland out shot the Silverbacks 15-4 through regulation.
 
After the first 15-minute period of overtime the score and the series remained tied. Second-half substitute David Hague had Portland’s best shot of the period firing a rocket from the top of the box, but it was right at McIntosh.
 
Early in the second overtime period, the Timbers had two chances to take the lead. Midfielder Lawrence Olum nearly cruised a header into the back of the net off a Gregor free kick, but McIntosh punched the ball over the crossbar to keep the game scoreless. Minutes later, forward Matt Taylor headed a shot off the post that ricocheted back into the arms of McIntosh forcing the game and series to be decided on penalty kicks.
 
Atlanta’s Rodrigo Rios missed the first penalty kick of the night. Gregor followed that with a PK shot off the right post. The Silverbacks Angel Rivillo, Macoumbe Kandji and Warren Ukah each scored on their attempts. After Griffin scored on his penalty kick attempt, Kreamalmeyer missed his attempt wide left while Olum’s shot was saved by McIntosh.
 
Notes: The Timbers were 9-0-7 in regular season and playoff matches at PGE Park in 2007 … The 11,789 in attendance Sunday set a modern-franchise record for playoff attendance at PGE Park.
 
Lineups:
POR: GK Wicks, D Griffin, D J. Thompson, D Knowles, D S. Thompson, M Higgins, M Poltl (Olum, 105), M Gregor, M Kreamalmeyer, F Jordan (M. Taylor, 99), F Ambriz (Hague, 69)
 
ATL: GK McIntosh, D Hayes, D Bobo, D Lancaster, D Jarun, M Buete (Barrow, 120), M Rios, M Liendo (Rivillo, 72), M Kandji, F Antoniuk (Ukah, 61), F Millwood (Wolfe, 79)
 
Scoring Summary:
None