Ambersley hat trick leads AC St. Louis past Timbers

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A hat trick by forward Mike Ambersley guided AC St. Louis to a 3-0 win over the Portland Timbers at Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park on Wednesday. The loss ended Portland’s five-game unbeaten streak in league play.

Ambersley, who entered the match with three goals on the season, tallied twice in the first half just two minutes apart and then put away his third goal of the night in the 57th minute off of a rebound to hand the Timbers’ their first loss in league play since June 17.

Goalkeeper Alec Dufty was credited with an assist and logged three saves to earn the shutout, while Ambersley took a team-high five shots to lead AC St. Louis (5-10-4, 19pts) to its second straight win.

Midfielder Ryan Pore recorded three shots, forward Bright Dike took a pair of shots and forward George Josten attempted two shots of his own for the Timbers (7-6-5, 26pts), who opened a three-game road trip with the loss. The Timbers had not allowed three goals in a losing effort since June 7, 2008.

AC St. Louis, kicking off a five-match homestand, claimed the lead in the 25th minute. Following a long ball played into the box, Ambersley tucked away his third shot of the night into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead and his fourth strike of the season.

In the 27th minute, Ambersley snuck in behind the Timbers’ backline and put himself in position to receive a ball over the top from Dufty. From the right side, the striker chipped a shot on target. Timbers goalkeeper Steve Cronin got his hand on the ball, but the shot had enough weight behind it to find the back of the net for a 2-0 AC St. Louis advantage.

Ambersley capitalized on a loose ball in the box for his third goal of the night in the 57th minute. AC St. Louis had a shot on frame turned away by Cronin on one of his three saves on the night, but he could not hold onto the ball. It rolled free into the box and Ambersley buried it underneath the Portland goalkeeper to secure his hat trick.

The Timbers attempted 11 shots on the night and had opportunities to get on the scoreboard. In the opening moments of the match, defender Josh Cameron played a through ball from the left side to spring Josten on a run. Near the edge of the box, Dufty collected the pass and ended the threat before the Josten could reach the ball.

Led by Dike, the Timbers caused trouble inside the AC St. Louis box in the ninth minute. Dufty and the AC St. Louis defense were able to hold steady and clear the ball before Portland could get off a dangerous shot.

In the 43rd minute, Josten capped a 30 yard charge into the box with a hard shot on frame from 10 yards out. He forced Dufty to produce one of his two first-half saves to keep the Timbers from pulling one back before the break.

Before the AC St. Louis scored its third goal of the night, the Timbers had a chance to cut the deficit in half. Second-half substitute Quavas Kirk served a cross into the box for Dike near the spot. He wasn’t able to convert his second shot of the night, and the Timbers were held scoreless for the sixth time this season.

The Timbers continue their road trip on Saturday as they visit FC Tampa Bay Rowdies at George M. Steinbrenner Field at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific). A live broadcast will air on Sportsradio 95.5 The Game, with a live video webcast available online at www.portlandtimbers.com/live.

Notes: Portland defender Ian Joy was not available on Wednesday due to a one-game, league-imposed suspension for yellow-card accumulation; Cameron made his fifth start of the season at left back … Ambersley has scored four of his six goals on the season against the Timbers … Entering the contest against AC St. Louis, Portland had allowed just one goal in its last five matches … On a two-game loan to AC St. Louis, midfielder Collen Warner made his team debut Wednesday. He was a member of the Timbers’ development team, the Timbers U-23s, in 2009.

Lineups:
POR: GK Cronin, D Cameron, D Keel, D Danso, D Purdy (Kirk, 45), M McManus (Marcelin, 64), M Nimo, M Pore, M Gaudet (Lopez, 45), F Dike (DeMartin, 82), F Josten (Suzuki, 72)

STL: GK Dufty, D Traynor, D Schuler (O’Garro, 68), D Bauer (Warner, 44), D Bloom, M Kreamalmeyer, M Cole, M Velten, M Stisser (Moore, 59), F Ambersley (Kafedzic, 88), F Crosgriff

Scoring Summary:
STL: Ambersley, 25
STL: Ambersley (Dufty), 27
STL: Ambersley, 57