ATLANTA – Portland Timbers midfielder Lawrence Olum scored the go-ahead goal in the 90th minute but the Atlanta Silverbacks delivered the equalizer in stoppage time as the two sides battled to a 1-1 draw at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium on Friday.
Olum gave the Timbers (5-6-7, 22pts) a short-lived lead in the 90th minute capitalizing on a deflected ball inside the Atlanta box. Minutes later, Silverbacks midfielder Ansu Toure set up the equalizer with a ball played into the box that was finished by midfielder Scott Buete inside the far post to steal points from the Timbers.
Portland held off a steady attack by Atlanta (5-4-6, 21pts), which held an advantage in shots 15-6, as Timbers goalkeeper Brad Knighton recorded four saves to help keep the game within reach. With the draw, the Timbers end the 2008 regular-season series against Atlanta with a 1-0-2 record.
The Timbers took a 1-0 lead on Olum's second goal of the season in the final minute of regulation. Defender Leonard Griffin played the ball up field and laid it off for forward Takayuki Suzuki near the top of the arc. Suzuki's shot was deflected off an Atlanta defender and up into the air. Waiting for the ball was Silverbacks goalkeeper Felipe Quintero, but before he could get to it, Olum charged through the box and one-timed the ball into the back of the net from six yards out.
Porltand's goal extended the game's second-half stoppage time allowing the Silverbacks to mount one more attack. Toure received the ball at the top right corner of the box and worked it towards the endline before he sent a pass towards the goal. In the mix was Buete, who worked his way to the ball and helped it find the back of the net for the 1-1 equalizer.
The two sides battled to a scoreless first half as each had key scoring chances fall just short of their mark. Portland defender Cameron Knowles headed a cross from Olum at the near post just wide of the goal. Silverbacks leading scorer Macoumba Kandji had two one-on-one chances in the first half stopped by Knighton inside the box.
Kandji nearly broke the stalemate around the hour mark as he earned another one-on-one opportunity, this time against Knowles. Forced to make a move to the outside, Kandji fired a shot that went just wide of the frame and into the side netting.
The Timbers gained momentum offensively late in the match which led to a long cross by defender Scot Thompson bringing the ball up field along the right touch line. His 40 yard pass found Olum at the back post, who towered over his defender and headed the ball just over the crossbar.
Portland finishes a two-game road trip Saturday against the Charleston Battery at Blackbaud Stadium at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) with their second match in two days. A live broadcast will be available at www.portlandtimbers.com; with a live video webcast available through USL Live at www.usllive.com.
Notes: With a 1-0-2 record against the Silverbacks this season, the Timbers have logged consecutive seasons with a winning record against Atlanta ... Portland defender Tim Karalexis and midfielder Miguel Guante each left the game in the first half with injuries.
POR: GK Knighton, D Griffin, D Karalexis (J. Thompson, 6), D Knowles, D S. Thompson, M Higgins, M Guante (Walker, 33)(Bagley, 87), M Poltl, M Dombrowski (Little, 45), F Olum, F Brown (Suzuki, 77)
ATL: GK Quintero, D Hayes, D Moore (Camp, 89), D Bolton, D Lancaster, M Buete, M McManus, M Rios (Knox, 61), M Toure, F Kandji, F McLaughlin
POR: Olum, 90
ATL: Buete (Toure), 90