Timbers open road trip with 1-0 win over Impact
MONTREAL, Quebec – Midfielder Ryan Pore scored a goal in his fourth consecutive match to lead the Portland Timbers to a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact Wednesday at Saputo Stadium to open a two-game road trip.
With their third straight win, the Timbers (12-1-9, 45pts) extend their league record unbeaten streak to 21 games and move into sole possession of first place in the USL First Division – one point ahead of the Charleston Battery in second.
Pore delivered his seventh goal of the season, forward Kevin Forrest logged the assist and goalkeeper Steve Cronin earned his eighth shutout of the season for the Timbers, who took all three games from the Impact during the 2009 season series between the two clubs.
Goalkeeper Srdjan Djekanovic was credited with seven saves and forward Roberto Brown took a team-high three shots for Montreal (7-9-5, 26pts), which had a four-game unbeaten streak snapped by the Timbers.
Locked in a stalemate entering the final 10 minutes of the match, Pore broke through in the 83rd minute off a well-place cross by Forrest. Second-half sub Takayuki Suzuki initiated the play up the middle of the field before finding Forrest wide down the right side. Forrest whipped in a cross for Pore on the back side. After settling the ball, Pore drilled a shot past Djekanovic from 12 yards out.
Midfielder Brian Farber nearly doubled the Timbers lead in the 87th minute with a shot from the top of the box. Djekanovic got his hands on Farber’s attempt but could not stop the ball. As the shot rolled towards the goal line, Impact defender Adam Braz cleared the ball off the line.
The Timbers controlled the tempo in the first half and edged the Impact 7-6 in shots in the open period. Off a re-start in the 15th minute, forward Mandjou Keita one-timed a shot from the top of the box over the cross bar. Defender David Hayes had a chance to put the Timbers on the board in the 38th minute, but put a cross by forward George Josten wide of the near post.
Montreal’s best chance of the first half came in the 19th minute as a build up down the center of the field led to a shot from inside the box by Brown. Under pressure from the Timbers backline, Brown poked his shot wide of the post.
The Impact had a chance to take the lead in the opening minutes of the second half, as midfielder Ciaran O’Brien led a charge up field. O’Brien crossed the ball from the right side to Brown on a run on the back stick. Brown got a toe on the ball but lifted his shot over the crossbar.
Pore had two open looks inside the box midway through the second stanza deflected at the last second by Montreal defenders, including one chance in the 70th minute. Pore was able to slip by Braz inside the top left corner of the box. As Pore pulled back for a shot, Impact defender Cedric Joqueviel got a piece of the ball following a lunging effort to send the attempt wide.
In the final minutes of the contest, Timbers defender Cameron Knowles went down with a leg injury following a challenge on Montreal’s Eduardo Sebrango. Knowles was carted off the field by medical staff with a broken right leg and taken to a local hospital.
Portland finishes its two-game road trip on Saturday against the Rochester Rhinos at 4:35 p.m. (Pacific). A live broadcast will be available at 95.5 The Game and online at www.portlandtimbers.com. A live video webcast will be available through USL Live – now a free service at www.usllive.com.
Notes: Timbers wore their alternate black uniforms against the Impact … Portland’s backline held the Impact scoreless during the three-game season series against Montreal … Midfielder Alex Nimo made his second consecutive start for the Timbers Wednesday … The Timbers improved their all-time record in Montreal to 4-1-1.
POR: GK Cronin, D Hayes, Keel, D Knowles (Danso, 89), D Thompson, M McManus, M Savage, M Pore (Nishimura, 87), M Nimo (Farber, 63), F Keita (Forrest, 77), F Josten (Suzuki, 73)
MON: GK Djekanovic, D Braz, D Joqueviel, D Pizzolitto, D Gatti (Aaboubou, 86), M Testo, M O’Brien, C. (Donatelli, 63), Placentino (Gjertsen, 68), F Mayard (Biello, 76), F Brown (Sebrango, 72)
POR: Pore (Forrest), 83