Timbers end road trip with loss in Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C.First-half goals by Darren Spicer and Stephen Armstrong helped the Charleston Battery to a 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers at Blackbaud Stadium on Saturday and re-gain sole possession of first place in the USL First Division.
 
The Battery maintained momentum throughout the match and logged 14 shots against a Timbers team playing their second match in two days. Charleston (9-4-3, 30pts) used strikes by Spicer and Armstrong just five minutes apart to hand Portland (5-7-7, 22pts) its second loss in three matches.
 
With the win, Charleston hurdles the Puerto Rico Islanders at the top of the table and becomes the first team to reach 30 points this season.  
 
Having played the Atlanta Silverbacks to a 1-1 draw on Friday, Portland (5-7-7, 22pts) ended a two-game road trip and a week that featured three games in six days. Timbers Goalkeeper Brad Knighton collected all five of his saves in the second half against the Battery.
 
The Battery took a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute on Spicer’s first goal of the season. The ball was played to Marco Reda inside the right side of the box. Reda then sent the ball towards the goal and Spicer was able to muscle his way past his defender to get a toe on the ball and redirect it inside the near post.
 
In the 32nd minute, Armstrong extended Charleston’s lead with 20 yard strike outside the top left corner of the box. Forward Randi Patterson received the ball near the midfield line and pushed it up field. Out-numbered by Portland defenders, Patterson slipped the ball wide to the left for Armstrong running down the left touch line. With his first touch, he fired the ball inside the far post for a 2-0 Battery lead.
 
Portland had its chances in the first half, particularly on set pieces, and out-shot the Battery 6-4. In the seventh minute, midfielder Chris Brown sent a long cross to midfielder Lawrence Olum at the back post for a header, but his attempt missed the mark. As the end of the first half drew near, midfielder Shaun Higgins created space on the ball inside the top left corner of the area and zipped a shot over the crossbar. 
 
Charleston registered 10 of their 14 shots on the night in the second half forcing Knighton into action and made diving stops on shots by midfielder Osvaldo Alonso and Armstrong early in the second half.
 
The Timbers started to apply offensive pressure with 15 minutes left in the match using a pair of corner kicks to help set up scoring opportunities and get off their lone shot in the second half.
 
As the clock wound down, the Battery peppered the Portland goal with shots and was unlucky not to find their third goal of the night as Patterson missed the ball on a shot attempt from inside the box and another Charleston shot was turned away by the far post.
 
The Timbers return home to face the Carolina RailHawks on July 24, a Miller Lite Thursday, at PGE Park at 7 p.m. Tickets, starting at $11, are available at the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400.  
 
Notes: Timbers players Tim Karalexis and Miguel Guante, who both left Friday’s match in Atlanta due to injuries, did not play against Charleston … Portland plays four of its next five matches at home … The Timbers had the advantage in corner kick attempts 6-5 over the Battery … Defender Scot Thompson registered a team-high two shots against Charleston.
 
Lineups:
POR: GK Knighton, D Knowles, D J. Thompson, D S. Thompson, D Griffin, M Dombrowski, M Poltl, M Higgins (Walker, 65), M Brown, F Suzuki, F Olum (Bagley, 72)
 
CHA: GK Hudock, D Akwari, D Velten, D Reda (Nylen, 72), D Wilson, M Williams (Kenga, 70), M Alonso, M Armstrong, M Alavanja (Spicer, 8)(King, 78), F Fuller (Corcoran, 82), F Patterson
 
Scoring Summary:
CHA: Spicer (Reda), 27
CHA: Armstrong (Patterson), 32