Timbers earn point on the road with draw in Montreal

MONTREAL – Midfielder Ryan Pore scored in his third straight game as the Portland Timbers played the defending-champion Montreal Impact to a 1-1 draw in front of 13,034 at Saputo Stadium on Sunday afternoon. With the draw, Portland remains unbeaten to start the season.

Pore tallied his fourth goal of the season, forward Doug DeMartin was credited with the assist and the backline turned in another solid performance to help the Timbers (2-0-1, 7pts) pick up a point in their first road match of the season.

After a scoreless first half, the Timbers broke the deadlock in the 67th minute. Collecting a pass from DeMartin down the left side, Pore cut through the Montreal defense, penetrated the box and fired a shot from 15 yards out inside the left post for his league-leading fourth strike of the season.

Montreal caught a break late in the match and was able to level the score with a penalty-kick goal in the in the 82nd minute. Midfielder Nevio Pizzolitto converted the attempt from the spot to help the Impact (0-1-1, 1pt) earn a share of the points in its home opener. Portland defender Quavas Kirk was called for the foul inside the box on the Impact’s Roberto Brown.

Portland’s backline held the Impact to just two shots in the first half. In the 28th minute, defender Steve Purdy executed a well-timed tackle inside the box on Montreal forward Reda Agourram to force his shot wide of the frame. Five minutes from the end of the first half, defender Mamadou Danso helped thwart a dangerous build up by the Impact, clearing away a cross from the left wing.

The Timbers presented the first dangerous scoring chance of the match in the 15th minute. Midfielder Brian Farber crossed the ball into the box from the right side for forward George Josten. Tangled up with an Impact defender, Josten was able to get off a shot on frame, but Montreal goalkeeper Matt Jordan was in position to make the save.

Early in the second half, Purdy nearly put the Timbers on the board. Off a corner kick by Pore, Purdy darted a header on frame aimed at the right post, but Impact midfielder Leonardo Di Lorenzo was there on the goal line to block the shot and deny Portland the lead.

Impact forward Peter Byers provided a spark on offense for the home side throughout the game. In the 53rd minute, he worked his way down to the end line and crossed the ball through the six-yard box. There was no help on the back side of the box, and Montreal’s threat came to an end. He had a breakaway stopped short in the first half when he was taken down just outside the box by Purdy.

The Timbers had the chance to double their lead in the 79th minute, on a play started by Farber down the right wing. Farber spotted Josten on a run at the left stick and crossed the ball into the box. Left wide open, Josten one-timed his shot from five yards out wide of goal.

The Impact held a 5-2 advantage in shots in the second half, but the Timbers defense continued their steady play. Portland goalkeeper Steve Cronin recorded one save in the contest, which he made in the second half.

The Timbers play host to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Thursday, April 29, at PGE Park. Kickoff between the Northwest rivals is set for 7 p.m. Tickets start at $12 and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Notes: The 13,034 on hand Sunday is the second-largest home crowd in the USSF D-2 Pro League this season, behind the Timbers’ 15,418 on April 17, at PGE Park … The Timbers improved their record in Montreal to 4-1-2 … Pore has scored in each of the last two meetings between the Timbers and Impact in Montreal … Portland begins span of four consecutive home games on April 29 against Vancouver.

Lineups:
POR: GK Cronin, D Kirk, D Purdy (Keel, 87), D Danso, D Joy, M Farber (Lopez, 83), M Marcelin, M Claesson (McManus, 78), M Pore (Suzuki, 89), F Josten, F Obatola (DeMartin, 61)

MON: GK Jordan, D Braz, D Pizzolitto, D Aaboubou, D deRoux, M Billy (Donatelli, 60), M Testo, M Di Lorenzo (Leduc, 82), M Soares (Placentino, 74), F Agourram (Brown, 68), F Byers (Sebrango, 84)

Scoring Summary:
POR: Pore (DeMartin), 67
MON: Pizzolitto (penalty kick), 81

Timbers Player Ratings (on a scale of 1-10 as submitted by Portland media):
Starters:
GK – Steve Cronin – 7, D – Steve Purdy – 7, D – Quavas Kirk – 7, D – Mamadou Danso – 7, D – Ian Joy – 7, M – James Marcelin – 7, M – Ryan Pore – 8, M – Brian Farber – 7, M – Johan Claesson – 7, F – O.J. Obatola – 6, F – George Josten – 7

Subs:
D – Stephen Keel – 7, M – Tony McManus – 7, M – Rodrigo Lopez – 7, F – Takayuki Suzuki – 7, F – Doug DeMartin – 7