Two men down, Timbers fight for 2-2 draw

PORTLAND, Ore. - Forward Chris Bagley and defender Justin Thompson scored to help the Portland Timbers, who at one point were down two men, fight their way to a 2-2 draw against the Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday at PGE Park.

Portland (4-4-6, 18pts) maintained a one-goal lead through the final minutes of the match, but the Silverbacks' Nathan Knox scored late to steal a point on the road for Atlanta. The Timbers's two goals in the first half broke a four-match scoring drought at home.
 

Bagley, who was a late minute addition to the starting lineup, scored his first goal of the season to give Portland an early lead, but an own goal by the Timbers evened the score in the 29th minute. With a man down just before the break, Thompson headed in the go-ahead goal for a 2-1 lead. Portland held steady for nearly the entire second half, but Knox's goal in the 88th minute helped Atlanta (3-3-4, 13pts) to its second consecutive draw.
 
Portland went down a man in the 17th minute when referee Jasen Anno issued midfielder Tom Poltl a straight red following a physical play near midfield. In the second half, defender Scot Thompson was sent off after a hard challenge on Atlanta's Macoumba Kandji near the left sideline forcing the Timbers to finish the final 22 minutes of the match with just nine players.
 
The Timbers took a 1-0 lead on Bagley's goal in the 14th minute. As Atlanta attempted to bring the ball forward, Bagley was able to gain possession of the ball and charged the box from 30 yards out. Atlanta goalkeeper Ryan McIntosh left his line to challenge the play, but Bagley was able to slip the ball into the back of the net for a one goal advantage.
 
Shortly after Portland took the lead, Poltl was ejected from the match by Anno.
 
The Timbers were dealt another blow in the 29th minute as an own goal evened the match at 1-1. Off an Atlanta throw in from the right touch line into the box, Timbers midfielder Miguel Guante, near the back post, knocked the ball into the back of his own net while attempting to head the ball away from danger.
 
Down a man with the score locked at 1-1, Justin Thompson headed in the go-ahead goal in the 39th minute to give Portland the lead heading into halftime. An offside call on the Silverbacks set up Scot Thompson with a free kick at midfield. His ball into the box dropped down right to Justin on the penalty spot, who with his back to goal, was able redirect the ball into the top right corner of the frame for his second goal of the season.
 
Even with a man down, the Timbers defense allowed the Silverbacks just three shots in the first half. Portland goalkeeper Ray Burse did not record a save in the opening period but spoiled two sharp crosses by Atlanta from the edge of the area.
 
The Timbers had a chance to pad their one-goal lead in the opening minutes of the second half as a free kick by forward Takayuki Suzuki into the box found the head of Justin Thompson, midfielder Tim Karalexis and defender Cameron Knowles all near the goal line before the Silverbacks could clear the ball out of the box.
 
Atlanta earned a two-man advantage in the 71st minute when Anno issued Scot Thompson a straight red card and took advantage of the opportunity by firing a majority of their 10 second-half shots on a nine-man Timbers side.
 
Atlanta found the equalizer in the 88th minute on Knox's first strike of the season. Defender David Hayes brought the ball through the box to the far left side of the area before firing a shot on goal. Burse was there to make the initial save, but deflected the ball back into play. Knox was there to fire home the loose ball for Atlanta's first goal of the night, but second on the scoresheet.
 
Both Poltl and Scot Thompson will serve one-game, league-imposed suspensions during Portland's next league match on June 27 against the Carolina RailHawks on the road.
 
Portland plays host to a special exhibition match on Saturday as it faces Italy's Juventus Primavera at PGE Park presented by Peroni Italy. Juventus Primavera features three members of Italy's U-21 National Team. Tickets, starting at $15, are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phoning (503) 224-4400.
 
Notes: Midfielder Andrew Gregor suffered a mild hamstring pull during warm ups and was scratched from the lineup ... Portland has a 14-day break between USL First Division matches ... Of the Timbers' eight fouls on the night, two were straight red cards ... Scot Thompson earned his first point of the season on the assist to Justin Thompson in the 39th minute.
 
Lineups:
POR: GK Burse, D Griffin, D S. Thompson, D J. Thompson, D Knowles, D M Poltl, M Dombrowski, M Guante, M Brown, F Suzuki (Lara, 80), F Bagley (Karalexis, 45)
 
ATL: GK McIntosh, D Hayes, D Bobo, D Bolton (Mahaffey, 86), D Lancaster (Kirby, 50), M Buete, M McManus, M Toure (Knox 61), M Camp (Rios, 61), F McLaughlin, F Kandji
 
Scoring Summary:
POR: Bagley, 14
ATL: Own Goal
POR: J. Thompson (S. Thompson), 39
ATL: Knox (Hayes), 88