Timbers defeat Baltimore 3-1 behind Dike's brace

TOWSON, Md. – Forward Bright Dike scored two goals and forward Doug DeMartin recorded a pair of assists as the Portland Timbers extended their unbeaten streak to nine games with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace Baltimore on Saturday afternoon at Paul Angelo Russo Stadium.

With the win, the Timbers clinched a top-four finish in the USSF Division-2 Pro League, with a game left to play on their regular-season schedule.

DeMartin and Dike connected twice in the first half, leading to a pair of goals, to give Portland a 2-0 lead heading into halftime. Crystal Palace Baltimore’s Santiago Fusilier was sent off with a straight red card early in the second half after contesting a series of hard fouls. Despite being a player short, Baltimore was able to pull one back on a penalty kick goal by Gary Brooks in the 73rd minute. The Timbers added a late insurance goal as forward George Josten sealed the 3-1 victory.  

Dike improved his season goals total to nine, Josten tallied his first goal in league play, defender Josh Cameron logged his first assist of the campaign and midfielder Ryan Pore took a team-high four shots for the Timbers (13-7-9, 48pts). DeMartin recorded the Timbers first multiple-assist performance of the season.

Portland goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski recorded two saves in his second start and helped the backline set a new modern-franchise record for consecutive minutes played without allowing a goal. The last goal conceded by the Timbers was in a 1-1 draw against the Austin Aztex on Aug. 26 – a run of 497 minutes. Brooks’ goal in the 73rd minute ended Portland’s string of four straight shutouts.

Brooks scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season and goalkeeper Mark Murphy recorded six saves in the losing effort for Crystal Palace Baltimore (6-17-6, 24pts). Baltimore has lost its last seven consecutive games.

The Timbers jumped on the board early, with Dike scoring his eighth goal of the season in the third minute. Starting from the back, the ball was played through Savage in the middle of the park and he found DeMartin wide down the right side. DeMartin sliced a cross into the box for Dike on the back post. Dike then headed a shot back across the goal and inside the right post for a 1-0 Timbers lead.

Just before halftime, DeMartin and Dike linked up again to give the Timbers a 2-0 advantage. A one-two combo between defender Scot Thompson and DeMartin set up the forward with the ball inside the box. From the right side, DeMartin sent a short centering pass to Dike 10 yards out from goal. Under pressure, Dike poked a left-footed shot by Murphy into the back of the net.

A hard challenge by Timbers midfielder Kalif Alhassan spurred a heated moment in the 57th minute. Baltimore’s Fusilier was ejected with a straight red card, leaving the home side with just 10 men for the final 33 minutes of the contest. Even a man short, Crystal Palace Baltimore gained some life late in the contest, when Brooks was awarded a penalty kick late in the second half.

Murphy played a long ball over the top for Brooks at the top of the box. Brooks got tangled up with Timbers defender Kevin Goldthwaite just inside the top right corner of the box, and drew the foul to earn the penalty kick. Brooks was able to get Pyzdrowski to dive to his right before slotting a shot into the left side of the goal to cut the Timbers lead in half, 2-1.

Portland would find the back of the net for a third time against Baltimore. The ball was pushed down the left side and collected by Cameron deep in the corner. He sent in a well-placed cross to Josten running at the near post. The ball dropped in for Josten, and he flicked a shot into the top near corner in the 86th minute to cap the victory.

The Timbers controlled the run of play for a majority of the match and out-shot Crystal Palace Baltimore 16-9.

Just after Dike’s goal in the third minute, Pore set up DeMartin for a dangerous chance from inside the box. Murphy made a diving stop on DeMartin’s shot from the right side. In the seventh minute, Alhassan played the ball up field for Dike, who rocketed a shot off the top of the crossbar from 12 yards out.

Murphy made one of his four first-half saves on a blistering shot from Timbers midfielder Keith Savage in the 32nd minute. He was able to leap up and get to Savage’s shot aimed at the top corner.

Crystal Palace Baltimore opened the second half with one of its more dangerous scoring opportunities of the match. Forward Neto unloaded a shot from 25 yards out, but Pyzdrowski made a diving save and was able to hold onto the ball to keep the home side off the board.

Timbers sub Ibad Muhamadu provided a spark for the Timbers offense off the bench, recording three shots. In the 64th minute, Muhamadu received the ball in the box, turned and then ripped a shot from a tight angle along the right post towards the far stick. The ball rolled just wide, but Portland had two runners on the far side that were just a step behind the play.

Murphy kept the match in check for Baltimore into the late stages of the match. In the 79th minute, he made two saves point-blank shots by the Timbers. The first came on a one-on-one entcounter with Muhamadu along the left side, which sent the ball back into play. With the ball bouncing around the box, Pore drilled a shot on frame from 10 yards out and Murphy was able to deny the effort on a sliding save. 

The Timbers wrap up their regular-season schedule on Saturday, Oct. 2, against Northwest rival the Vancouver Whitecaps in Burnaby, B.C.; kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. A live broadcast will be available on Newsradio 750 KXL, with a live video webcast available online at www.portlandtimbers.com/live.

Notes: The Timbers broke the previous modern-franchise record of 469 minutes without allowing a goal set earlier this season … Goldthwaite and goalkeeper Adin Brown made their 2010 Timbers debut in the match against Baltimore … Dike became the second Timbers player this season to score twice in the first half of a league game. Pore accomplished the feat in a victory over AC St. Louis on April 22 … The Timbers split the season series with Baltimore (2-2-0) … Portland has won six of their last nine games ... The Timbers posted a 3-0-1 record in the month of September.

Lineups:
POR: GK Pyzdrowski (Brown, 82), D Thompson, D Danso, D Goldthwaite, D Cameron, M Pore, M Savage (Nimo, 66), M Alhassan (Gaudet, 89), M McManus, F Dike (Josten, 60), F DeMartin (Muhamadu, 60)

BAL: GK Murphy, D Pejic (Mark, 83), D Marshall, D Teixeira (Flores, 89), D Veeder, M Healey, M Mbuta (Bumbut, 43), M Fusilier, F Sanchez, F Neto, F Brooks

Scoring Summary:
POR: Dike (DeMartin), 3
POR: Dike (DeMartin), 41
BAL: Brooks (penalty kick), 73
POR: Josten (Cameron), 86