Timbers early lead fades in draw with Battery

PORTLAND, Ore. - Forward Bryan Jordan gave the Portland Timbers an early lead, but the Charleston Battery found the back of the net in the second half to earn their share of the points in a 1-1 draw in front of 6,283 on Saturday at PGE Park.
 
Jordan scored his second goal of the season and defenders Cameron Knowles and Cameron Dunn helped hold the Battery to just five shots on the night for Portland (5-8-10, 25pts). The Timbers maintained possession throughout the night and owned a 20-5 advantage in shots.
 
But forward Lazo Alavanja capitalized on an error in the net by Portland goalkeeper Brad Knighton in the 69th minute to level the score and goalkeeper Keith Wiggins logged 10 saves to help the Battery capture a point in the final match of their two-game road trip.
 
The draw with Charleston (10-7-5, 35pts) helps the Timbers slide into sole possession of seventh place in the USL First Division and hold onto the final playoff spot.
 
Jordan helped the Timbers jump out to a 1-0 advantage in the 12th minute with his second goal in two weeks. Forward Byron Alvarez, who was the Battery's leading scorer a year ago, received the ball around the edge of the box and fired a shot at the far post. His shot deflected off the bar and back into play allowing Jordan to put away the rebound for the early lead.
 
The Timbers maintained control of the first half out-shooting the Battery 9-3 and had a pair of headers from close range nearly find their marks. Midfielder Lawrence Olum knocked a header at the left post off a long cross by midfielder Tom Poltl, but his shot was scooped up by Wiggins. Guante also had a header from the right edge of the six yard box denied by Wiggins.
 
In the 34th minute midfielder Bryan Little, making his third start of the season, unloaded a 25 yard strike at the top right corner of the frame that just floated high.
 
Wiggins' kept the Battery within reach in the 43rd minute, as Olum uncorked a shot from inside the box. With an acrobatic dive to his right, Wiggins was able to get a hand on the ball and redirect it just enough to push the shot wide of the goal.
 
Jordan and Alvarez took over the match early in the second half, working together to create some dangerous chances inside the box. In the opening 10 minutes of the second period, the striking duo worked the ball into the box before Alvarez chipped Wiggins from 12 yards out. Jordan, running at the back post, made a lunging effort at Alvarez's ball as it bounced along the goal line but couldn't quite catch up to it before the ball rolled out of play.
 
In the 56th minute, Jordan fed Alvarez a pass that helped Alvarez marched down field on a 20 yard run to the top of the box. He capped his run with a shot from inside the arc but it was stopped by Wiggins.
 
The Battery knotted the scored in the 69th minute on a low shot by Alavanja. Off a Charleston corner kick, the ball was sent to the back post where the Timbers attempted to clear it away. But the ball trickled up to the top of the box to Alavanja, who sent a shot right back into the mix. His rolling shot weaved through players right to Knighton, who was in position to play the ball but had it roll up his arms and into the goal.
 
The Timbers pushed numbers forward in the final minutes looking to regain the lead, but Wiggins left his line to challenge balls played into the box and turned away several Portland shots to keep the match locked at 1-1. Charleston returns home to play host to the Seattle Sounders in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup on Aug. 12.
 
Portland faces the Montreal Impact in their next match on Aug. 16 at PGE Park on Takayuki Suzuki Bobblehead Night presented by Toyota. The first 1,000 fans receive a bobblehead likeness of Suzuki. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
 
Notes: Defender Cameron Dunn made his first start for the Timbers ... In five matches between Portland and Charleston at PGE Park, Saturday was the first draw between the two sides ... Both teams conclude their season series on Sept. 11 at PGE Park. 
 
Lineups:
POR: GK Knighton, D Higgins, D Knowles, D Dunn, D Griffin, M Guante (Walker, 73), M Poltl, M Olum, M Little (Oka, 74), F Jordan, F Alvarez (Bagley, 80)
 
CHA: GK Wiggins, D Nylen (King, 45), D Corcoran, D Curry, D Richardson, M Rolko, M Salinas, M Kenga, M Cianciarulo (Velten 86), F Alavanja (More, 80), F Spicer (Ayres, 45)
 
Scoring Summary:
POR: Jordan, 12
CHA: Alavanja, 69