Timbers host first-place Battery tonight at PGE Park

The Portland Timbers play host to the first-place Charleston Battery tonight at PGE Park at 7 p.m. on Nike Night. The first 1,000 kids 12 and under receive a free Nike drawstring bag. Listen to tonight's match at portlandtimbers.com or watch it through USL Live. Follow live updates via Twitter.

Click here for tonight's match notes.

Tonight's starters:
POR: GK Cronin, D Hayes, D Keel, D Thompson, D Danso, D Claesson, M Claesson, M McManus, M Nimo, M Pore, F Keita, F Josten

CHA: GK Wiggans, D Akwari, D Marples, D Bermudez, D Sanfilippo, M Buete, M Williams, M Armstrong, M Hemming, F Antoniuk, F Patterson

Match preview:
The Portland Timbers look to stretch their USL First Division record unbeaten streak to 20 games tonight as they play host to the first-place Charleston Battery in a top-of-the-table matchup at PGE Park. Tonight’s match features the leagues’ top two defenses, with both clubs having allowed a league-low 10 goals this season.
The Timbers enter tonight’s match in a two-way tie for second place with the Carolina RailHawks at 39 points. Charleston defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 last night to regain the top spot in the USL First Division. The final third of the season looks to be a tight race as the top four positions in the standings are only separated by six points. The RailHawks host the Cleveland City Stars today at 4 p.m. (Pacific).

Portland is currently on a 20-game unbeaten run, which started on April 30, with a 0-0 draw against Carolina. The Timbers have suffered just one loss this season, coming at the hand of the Whitecaps in their season-opening match on April 25 in Vancouver. The Timbers are unbeaten at home this season against USL First Division opponents (7-0-2), out-scoring teams 17-2 at PGE Park. 

With a first half-strike from Ryan Pore, the Timbers defeated Vancouver 1-0 at PGE Park on Thursday to capture their first Cascadia Cup. The shutout-victory was the Timbers’ third clean sheet over their last four league games. Portland has conceded just one goal since July 19 – a span of four games.

Portland and Charleston meet for the second time this season. In their previous meeting on June 13, forward Mandjou Keita came off the bench to score the equalizer in the 84th minute to help the Timbers earn a 1-1 draw on the road. Since 2001, the Timbers are 4-6-2 all-time against the Battery, but are 3-2-1 against Charleston at home. Portland’s last win over the Battery was Aug. 23, 2007, with a 1-0 result on a late strike by defender Justin Thompson. Tonight’s contest marks Charleston’s lone scheduled visit to the Rose City this season; the two sides finish their 2009 season series on Aug. 28 in South Carolina.

Following tonight’s match, the Timbers embark on a two-game road trip to face the Montreal Impact on Wednesday, Aug. 12 at 4:45 p.m. (Pacific) and Rochester Rhinos on Saturday, Aug. 15 at 4:35 p.m. (Pacific). It will be the first and only visit to both cities for Portland during the regular season.