Timbers shut out Crystal Palace Baltimore 3-0

PORTLAND, Ore. – Midfielder Ryan Pore recorded a goal and an assist and forward Bright Dike turned in a two-goal performance as the Portland Timbers defeated Crystal Palace Baltimore 3-0 before 15,418 at PGE Park on Sunday.

Pore and Dike factored into all three goals for the Timbers, each scoring in the first half. The pair then teamed up early in the second half for Portland’s third goal of the night, setting up a brace for Dike and sealing the club’s 10th win of the season.

Dike has scored five goals in the last five games, Pore tallied his league-leading 14th goal of the season, midfielder Johan Claesson and defender Mamadou Danso each logged their first assists and goalkeeper Steve Cronin recorded his ninth shutout of the season as the Timbers (10-7-8, 38pts) extended their unbeaten streak to five games.

Portland remains in third place in the USL Conference and in fourth place in the overall USSF Division-2 Pro League standings, but widen their lead over the Carolina RailHawks (34pts) in fifth place.

Forward Gary Brooks and midfielder Tsuyoshi Yoshitake each attempted three shots and goalkeeper Evan Bush was credited with four saves, but could not keep Crystal Palace Baltimore (6-13-6, 24pts) from suffering its fifth shutout in the last six games.

Pore put the Timbers on the board early, scoring in the 15th minute. On a re-start in the defensive third, Danso launched the ball deep down the left side. Pore’s defender slipped, which gave the Timbers’ leading scorer enough room to collect the ball and set up for a shot. Pore ripped an arching shot from the edge of the box inside the far post and into the side netting; it was Pore’s first goal in the run of play since July 10.

Claesson, making his first start since Aug. 4, set up Dike for his first goal of the night in the 42nd minute. Claesson played a timely ball forward from midfield to spring Dike on a run. Dike charged up field and angled his way towards the right post. He blasted a left-footed shot towards the top left corner of the goal. Bush appeared to get a hand on it, but could not keep Dike’s shot from landing in the back of the net, giving the Timbers a 2-0 lead.

Dike capped his brace in the 53rd minute to give the Timbers a three-goal cushion. Pore started the play from the left side and found Dike near the top of the box along the right post. The rookie smashed a low, bouncing shot just beyond the reach of Bush and into the left side of the goal to put Portland on top 3-0.

The Timbers controlled run of play throughout the night and wasted little time in putting their offense to work. In the ninth minute, Pore sent in a cross from the left side and Danso put a header off the crossbar.

Claesson and Dike nearly linked up for a goal in the 10th minute, when the midfielder snuck in behind Crystal Palace Baltimore’s backline and found space in the box. Claesson slipped Dike a perfectly-placed pass. Dike’s shot from 12 yards out was saved by a sliding stop from Bush.

Four minutes later, Dike got free of his defender and earned a breakaway down the left side. He pulled the trigger on a shot from 12 yards out and drilled the ball directly at Bush. At the 30 minute mark, the Timbers owned a 9-1 edge in shots.

Crystal Palace Baltimore managed three shots in the first half – all coming from Brooks. In the 39th minute, Brooks attempted Baltimore’s closest chance of the period, lifting a header off of a cross from forward Neto just over the goal.

Portland continued to press in the second half. Dike hit one of his team-high seven shots just wide of the right post in the opening minutes of the stanza. But it was the Timbers defense that highlighted the second half as Crystal Palace Baltimore was able to create a handful of offensive chances.

In the 70th minute, defender Quavas Kirk smothered one of Crystal Palace Baltimore’s more dangerous scoring chances on the night. A string of passes up the right side helped turn forward Adrian Bumbut loose with the ball at the top of the box. Kirk chased him down inside the box and carefully stripped the ball away before Bumbut could get a shot off.

Cronin turned in his only save of the night late in the second half. Former Timbers defender Takuro Nishimura delivered a cross into the box for forward Matthew Mbuta, who headed the ball on frame. Cronin plucked the ball out of the air, ending the threat.

Down 3-0, Crystal Palace Baltimore was reduced to 10 men when defender Korey Veeder was issued his second yellow card of the night after a hard tackle on Portland’s Takayuki Suzuki near the sideline. Veeder’s ejection marked the third straight game in which the Timbers’ opponent has had a player or coach sent off by the referee.

Forward Doug DeMartin attempted three of his four shots in the second half and almost found his first professional goal in second half stoppage time. Forward Ibad Muhamadu played the ball back into the box from along the end line. Skipping through the box, the ball rolled right to DeMartin and his blast was saved on a diving effort by Bush at the right post.

The Timbers close out their three-game homestand on Thursday, Sept. 2, as they play host to the Puerto Rico Islanders at PGE Park in their regular-season home finale; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Tickets start at $12 in advance and are available at the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone (800), 745-3000.

Notes: Dike’s brace was the first multiple-game performance by a Timbers players since his hat trick in the U.S. Open Cup match against Kitsap on June 19 … DeMartin his made his first start since July 10 … The Timbers’ last seven goal have been scored by either Dike or Pore … Portland’s win over Crystal Palace Baltimore extends the club’s unbeaten streak in league games at PGE Park to six ... Timbers newcomer Kalif Alhassan made his debut with the club, entering as a sub in the second half.

Lineups:
POR: GK Cronin, D Purdy (Thompson, 68), D Keel, D Danso, D Kirk, M Claesson, M McManus, M Pore (Suzuki, 67), M Savage (Alhassan, 73), F Dike (Muhamadu, 72), F DeMartin

BAL: GK Bush, D Pejic, D Marshall (Teixeira, 57), D Nishimura, D Veeder, M Robson (Sanchez, 58), M Yoshitake, M Lader, M Fusilier (Bumbut, 65), F Neto (Healy, 89), F Brooks (Mbuta, 66)

Scoring Summary:
POR: Pore (Danso), 15
POR: Dike (Claesson), 42
POR: Dike (Pore), 53

Timbers player ratings (as submitted by members of the Portland media; scale of 1-10):
Starters
GK – Steve Cronin – 7.5, D – Quavas Kirk – 8, D – Stephen Keel – 8, D – Steve Purdy – 8, D – Mamadou Danso – 8, M – Johan Claesson – 8, M – Tony McManus – 8, M – Keith Savage – 7.5, M – Ryan Pore – 8.5, F – Doug DeMartin – 7.5, F – Bright Dike – 9

Subs
D – Scot Thompson – 8, F – Kalif Alhassan – 7.5, F – Ibad Muhamadu – 7.5, F – Takayuki Suzuki – 8