Timbers battle it out with Carolina tonight

On a six-game unbeaten streak, the Timbers head east to take on the Carolina RailHawks tonight at WakeMed Soccer Park at 4 p.m. (Pacific). Listen to the match live on Newsradio 750 KXL, watch a live video webcast or follow in-game updates on Twitter.

Click here for today's match notes.

Tonight's Starters:
POR: GK Cronin, D Joy, D Kirk, D Smith, D Keel, M Lopez, M Claesson, M Savage, M Marcelin, F Dike, F Muhamadu

CAR: GK Platter, D Shields, D Low, D Woolard, D McKenney, M Franks, M Gardner, M Watson, M Lowery, F Russell, F Heinemann

Match Preview:

On a six-game unbeaten streak, the Portland Timbers open a four-game road stretch tonight as they visit the Carolina RailHawks. Portland finishes the final month of the regular season with four consecutive away contests, including tonight’s matchup.
 
The Timbers rank third in the USL Conference and sit in fourth place in the overall USSF Division-2 Pro League standings. The Timbers are one of four teams who have already clinched a playoff spot, along with the Austin Aztex, Rochester Rhinos and Vancouver Whitecaps. The top eight clubs in the league advance to the postseason; the two conference leaders will occupy the top two seeds.

Portland extended its unbeaten run to six games (4-0-2) with a 1-0 win over the Puerto Rico Islanders in its last match Sept. 2 at PGE Park. During the Timbers’ unbeaten run, they have out-scored their opponents 9-3, with all nine goals coming from either midfielder Ryan Pore or forward Bright Dike.

 

The Timbers’ backline, which ranks among league leaders in fewest goals allowed (20), has shut out four of its last five opponents and has conceded just one goal in the last five games. In the shutout against Puerto Rico, Steve Cronin became the first goalkeeper in Timbers modern franchise history to record 10 shutouts in back-to-back seasons.

The Timbers take on Carolina for the second and final time during the regular season. In their first matchup, a 1-0 lead on a goal by Pore was erased in the final moments of second-half stoppage time with an equalizing goal by Carolina’s Daniel Paladini and Portland settled for a 1-1 draw. That draw was part of an eight-game winless stretch for the Timbers during the first half of the campaign. The Timbers are 2-2-5 against the RailHawks since 2007, when Carolina joined the league. Portland is unbeaten against the RailHawks in the last five meetings (1-0-4), and has not lost to Carolina since Sept. 20, 2008.

Of the nine meetings between the two sides, five have ended in a draw. The all-time series has been relatively low-scoring as well, with the two clubs combining for just seven goals.