MONTREAL – A late first-half strike by forward Chris Brown led the Portland Timbers to a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact in front of 13,034 at the new Saputo Stadium on Friday night. The Timbers snapped a six-match winless streak and earned their first victory on the road this season.
Portland (4-2-4, 16pts) was out-shot 22-7, but collected their sixth shutout of the season against Montreal (2-5-1, 7pts). It was the Timbers first win in their last seven matches and moves them into a two-way tie with the Vancouver Whitecaps in second place in the USL First Division at 16 points.
The Impact had the advantage in shots and corner kick opportunities, 9-0, but played its fourth consecutive league match without scoring a goal – a new franchise record.
The Timbers played without head coach Gavin Wilkinson and forward Takayuki Suzuki in Montreal due to a one-game, league-imposed suspension for their red cards issued on Monday against Miami FC.
Brown gave the Timbers a 1-0 lead entering halftime with his fourth goal of the year in the 45th minute. A throw in from the right touch line found defender Justin Thompson on the near post and he headed the ball back into the box. Trying to clear the ball, Montreal defender Stefano Pesoli knocked the ball straight up in the air and came down in Brown's direction. Brown was able to one-timed the ball inside the near post with a defender in his face, scoring Portland’s first goal in four matches.
The Impact nearly capitalized on several chances in the first half, including a blast from close range in the 36th minute. Forward Rocco Placentino worked the ball into space at the top left corner of the penalty area and unleashed a 12 yard shot at the right post but Timbers goalkeeper Ray Burse was there to parry the ball for one of his three saves in the match.
Early in the game, a cross by Impact midfielder Joey Gjertsen made its way towards forward Charles Gbeke at the top of the six yard box. Challenging the ball in the air was Gbeke and Burse, but Gbeke was able to get a touch on the ball and headed it wide in the 18th minute.
Montreal continued its offensive pressure in the second half and had several quality chances in the opening five minutes. In the 47th minute, Gbeke found space with the ball inside the penalty area, turned and rocketed a shot on target but Burse denied the opportunity. Moments later Gjertsen fired a 10 yard shot that hit the right post and then ricocheted off the crossbar and out of play.
The Impact looked to find the equalizer as the second half continued taking 15 of their 22 shots on the night in the second period. But the Timbers withstood the Impact attack and improved their all-time record in Montreal to 3-0-1 since 2001.
The Timbers wrap up their two-match road trip on Sunday against the Rochester Rhinos at PAETEC Park at 3 p.m. (Pacific). A live broadcast is available online at www.portlandtimbers.com; with a live video webcast available through USL Live at www.usllive.com.
Notes: Midfielder Lawrence Olum did not travel on the current road trip due to an injury suffered in training earlier this week … forward Chris Bagley made his second start of the season on Friday in Montreal … Portland is 1-0-3 on the road this season with three shutouts.
POR: GK Burse, D S. Thompson, D Griffin, D Knowles, D J. Thompson, M Gregor, M Higgins, M Guante (Dombrowski, 75), M Poltl, F Brown (Karalexis, 89), F Bagley (Totori, 71)(Little, 89)
MON: GK Jordan, D Braz (Matondo, 78), D Pesoli (Pizzolitto, 89), D Gatti (Surprenant, 73), D Joqueviel, M Leduc, M Testo (Biello, 65), M Gjertsen (Jefferson, 73), M Aguilar, F Placentino, F Gbeke
POR: Brown, 45