PORTLAND, Ore. - New forward Chris Brown scored a late goal with a one-man advantage to help the Portland Timbers defeat the Puerto Rico Islanders 1-0 in front of 10,977 fans Thursday at PGE Park. Thursday's attendance is the Timbers' second-largest, home-opening crowd since the club joined the USL First Division in 2001.
Both audio and video highlights from the match are available inside the Timbers Insider.
Portland’s largest home-opening crowd came in 2001, as 12,295 fans witnessed the team's first-ever home match as a member of the USL First Division.
With the win, Timbers extend their unbeaten regular-season streak at PGE Park to 15 matches. The streak started April 21, 2007 when the Timbers defeated Puerto Rico 3-1 at PGE Park to open the 2007 campaign. The last time Portland suffered a loss in a regular-season match at home was Sept. 7, 2006.
Portland (1-0-0, 3pts) earned a one-man advantage late in the first half as Puerto Rico's Taiwo Atieno was sent off in the 40th minute after a violent collision with Timbers defender Justin Thompson.
Brown found his first goal of the season in the 71st minute on a pass from midfielder Tom Poltl. Along the left post from 22 yards out, Brown blasted a shot inside the near post for a 1-0 Portland lead. The Timbers are now 5-2-1 in home-opening matches since 2001.
In his regular-season debut, Brown, who played for Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake in 2007, took a match-high six shots as the Timbers out-shot the Islanders (0-1-0, 0pts) 10-7.
At even strength, Brown nearly found his first goal of the night in the 15th minute as teammate Andrew Gregor chipped a ball into the box from 25 yards out. Fighting his way through two defenders, Brown got a toe on the ball and punched it just wide of the right post.
Thursday also marked the celebration of long-time Timbers icon Jim Serrill – better known as “TimberJim” - who announced his retirement in January. Serrill was honored at halftime with the presentation of a framed Timbers jersey and a life-time season ticket at PGE Park. The club also unveiled a retirement banner for Serrill which will be placed in the rafters of PGE Park next to the banner for former Timber Clive Charles.
With a four-game home stretch to start the 2008 season, the Timbers host the Minnesota Thunder on April 24, and Northwest rival Seattle Sounders on April 26 at PGE Park. Kickoff for both matches is set for 7 p.m.
Notes: The Timbers are now 5-3-0 all-time against Puerto Rico with all five victories coming at PGE Park ... Signed on Wednesday, new midfielder Bryan Little made his Timbers debut against Puerto Rico ... Portland defender Cameron Knowles played in his 33rd consecutive match, including the 2007 postseason.
POR: GK Burse, D Griffin, D J. Thompson, D Knowles, D S. Thompson, M Higgins, M Gregor, M Poltl, M Olum (Little, 78), F Suzuki, F Brown
PR: GK Gaudette, D Ojeda (Ortiz, 68), D Henry, D Arrieta, M Jones (A. Delgado, 73), M Miranda, M Telesford, M Villegas, M Delgado, F Atieno, F Noel
POR: Brown (Poltl), 71