Late Savage goal lifts Timbers to win over Montreal

PORTLAND, Ore. – A last minute goal by midfielder Keith Savage lifted the Portland Timbers to a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact in front of 6,427 at PGE Park Thursday. Savage’s goal in the 90th minute extended the Timbers’ unbeaten streak to eight matches.
Savage, who entered the match as a sub in the 78th minute, scored his first professional goal, defender Cameron Knowles collected an assist and goalkeeper Steve Cronin recorded his second consecutive shutout to lead the Timbers (5-1-3,18pts) to their third straight win.
Portland’s eight-game unbeaten streak ranks among the longest in modern-franchise history; the longest is a 10-game unbeaten run to finish the 2004 season.
Goalkeeper Matt Jordan recorded three saves, including a diving stop on a shot by Portland midfielder Ryan Pore in the second half, to keep the game within reach for Montreal (2-4-2, 8pts), who had a three-game unbeaten streak come to an end Thursday.
The Timbers took advantage of their chances in the final third and out-shot the Impact 19-2.
The two sides played evenly through the early going, settling into the rhythm of the match. Portland had the first shot of the match as Knowles headed a corner kick from David Hayes wide of the left post.
As the first half progressed, the Timbers built momentum and opened up their offense. In the 18th minute, Pore worked around his defender and found space in the top left corner of the box. He unleashed a shot towards the back post that forced Jordan into action, but Pore’s shot rolled wide of the goal.
Forward George Josten nearly put the Timbers on the board in the 34th minute. Portland defender Scot Thompson played a ball into the box, releasing Jordan off his line to punch the ball away. The ball landed at the feet of Josten 23 yards out, who then chipped a shot at the goal – hoping to catch Jordan out of position to make a save – but his attempt looped just over the cross bar.
The Timbers had another chance late in the first half to break the stalemate on a shot by midfielder Johan Claesson. Josten beat his marker down the left side of the box and crossed it into the box for Claesson on the near post. A looping header by Claesson cleared the Montreal backline but landed directly on the cross bar and bounced back into play.
Montreal’s only chance in the first half came in the 16th minute off a set piece from the left side. The ball was played into defender Elkana Mayard in the center of the Box. Mayard’s header on frame was smothered by Cronin.
A spirited Impact side took the field in the second half and controlled possession early on, but the Portland defense continued deny the visiting side quality looks at goal.  
The table turned in the Timbers’ favor midway through the second half when Pore laced a low shot from 23 yards out on frame that forced Jordan to make a diving save to his left to keep Portland off the board.
The Timbers continued put the Impact under late in the match. In the 83rd minute, midfielder Alex Nimo served up a low shot following a Hayes corner kick that looked destined to find the back of the net, but his shot was blocked by a Montreal player in the box.
Portland’s build up paid off late, as Savage delivered the game-winning strike as the clock hit regulation. Hayes played a free kick from 30 yards out from the right side that found Knowles at the back post. Knowles headed the ball back across the box to Savage in space, and Savage drilled his shot from close range into the back of the net.
Timbers forward Jason McLaughlin nearly doubled the Timbers lead in second-half stoppage time, but one-timed a cross from Mandjou Keita over the crossbar from eight yards out.
Portland hits the road for a stretch of three matches in five days starting Tuesday, June 9 against the Kitsap Pumas of the Premier Development League in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup in Bremerton, Wash.; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The Timbers then travel to face the Carolina RailHawks on June 11 and Charleston Battery on June 13.
Notes: Cronin recorded his third shutout of the season Thursday … Knowles earned his first point of the season with his assist on Savage’s goal … Josten paced the Timbers with four shots against the Impact … Portland has scored a goal in five straight league matches.
POR: GK Cronin, D Hayes, D Knowles, D Keel, D Thompson, M Farber (Suzuki, 64), M McManus, M Claesson (Savage, 78), M Pore (Nimo, 75), F Keita, F Josten (McLauglin, 84)
MON: GK Jordan, D Mayard, D Pizzolitto, D de Roux, D Gatti, M Grande, M Testo, M Donatelli (Sakuda, 45), M Gjertsen (Brillant, 72), F Brown (Sebrango, 65), F Placentino (Gai, 84)