ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Portland Timbers extended their USL First Division record unbeaten streak to 22 games with a 4-1 win over the Rochester Rhinos Saturday at Marina Auto Stadium. It is the Timbers first-ever win over the Rhinos in Rochester.
Midfielder Ryan Pore and forward Mandjou Keita each recorded a goal and an assist, forward Takayuki Suzuki scored the go-ahead goal and Keith Savage tacked on his third goal of the season to lead the Timbers (13-1-9, 48pts) to their fourth straight victory.
After a 1-0 lead at the break, Portland logged three goals in the second half to pick up its first win in Rochester since 2001, and add to its lead at the top of the USL First Division table. Entering the match, the Timbers were winless in six games on the road against the Rhinos.
Midfielder John Ball tallied his league-leading sixth assist of the season and forward Warren Ukah, who played for the Portland Timbers U-23s earlier this season, scored his third goal of the year for Rochester (9-8-5, 32pts). The Rhinos have lost three of their last four games.
Suzuki put the Timbers on top in the 22nd minute, finishing a quick counter attack down the left side. Pore found open space and broke up the middle of the field. As he approached the top of the box, he slipped a pass out wide to Suzuki. Just inside the top left corner of the box, Suzuki squeezed a shot between Rhinos goalkeeper Scott Vallow and the near post from 10 yards out for his second goal of the season.
Rochester came out firing in the first half and quickly took a 6-2 advantage in shots. The Rhinos nearly took the lead in the 20th minute as a free kick by Johnny Menyogar found midfielder Chris Nurse stationed inside the box. Under pressure, Nurse got his head on the ball, but it was driven just wide of the right post. The two sides finished the first stanza with six shots a piece.
Portland goalkeeper Steve Cronin made a key stop on a play by Rochester’s Danny Earls just before halftime, taking the ball off Earl’s foot during a breakaway down the left side of the box. Cronin finished the night with five saves, including four in the second half.
Scoring a goal in his fifth consecutive match, Pore gave the Timbers a 2-0 lead in the 74th minute. From midfield, Keita continued a quick counter with a pass over the top to Pore running down the middle of the field. Heading the ball down to his feet, Pore unloaded a rising shot past Vallow from 12 yards out.
In the 75th minute, Menyongar was sent off by referee Nick Bratsis for retaliating with a wild kick following a tackle by Timbers defender Mamadou Danso. Rochester played the final 15 minutes of the match with 10 men.
A foul by former Timbers midfielder Andrew Gregor set up a free kick in the 80th minute, which led to Portland’s third goal of the night. From 30 yards out, defender David Hayes sent a ball into the box for Savage on the left stick. After shedding his marker, Savage poked the ball back inside the right post for a 3-0 Timbers advantage. Hayes was credited with his team-leading fifth assist.
A player short, Rochester pulled one back in the 86th minute, as Ukah found the back of the net. Ball played a cross in from the right side to Ukah with space inside the penalty area. Ukah put a head on the ball and drove it inside the right post to erase the Timbers’ 12th shutout of the season and trim the lead 3-1.
Portland capped the scoring in the 90th minute on Keita’s ninth goal of the season. Midfielder Tony McManus set the table with a pass down the left flank for Kieta. After blowing by a defender inside the box, Keita curled a shot from near the endline around Vallow and across the goal line to seal a 4-1 win. With his three-point performance, Keita leads the league in both scoring (23pts) and is tied for the league lead in goals scored (9).
The Timbers return home to play host to the Miami FC Blues on Aug. 22 at PGE Park at 7:15 p.m. The first 2,000 kids 12 and under receive a Timbers replica jersey courtesy of Fred Meyer. Tickets start at $11 and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com
or by phone (800) 745-3000.
Notes: After a breakaway, Timbers midfielder Brian Farber pushed an open shot from inside the box wide of the target in the fifth minute … Ukah played in two games for the Timbers development team in May, scoring three goals … The Timbers are now 10-0-0 this season when scoring in the first half … Portland takes a 2-0-0 lead in the season series against Rochester.
POR: GK Cronin, D Nishimura (Thompson, 71), D Keel, D Danso (Dunn, 83), D Hayes, M Farber (Nimo, 84), M McManus, M Savage, M Suzuki (Forrest, 56), F Pore (Josten, 77), F Keita
ROC: GK Vallow, D Ball, D Bertz, D Sancho (Short, 65), D Kindel, M Nurse, M Fitzpatrick (Gregor, 73), M Heins, M Earls, F McFarlane (Ukah, 77), M Menyonger
POR: Suzuki (Pore), 22
POR: Pore (Keita), 74
POR: Savage (Hayes), 80
ROC: Ukay (Ball), 86
POR: Keita (McManus), 90