CARY, N.C. – Midfielder Martin Nuñez scored the game’s only goal early on to help the Carolina RailHawks capture a 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers at WakeMed Soccer Park on Friday night.
Nuñez found his second goal of the season in the fourth minute and goalkeeper Chris McClellan recorded five saves in his fourth shutout on the year to help the RailHawks (4-4-5, 17 pts) snap a five-game winless streak in league matches.
Coming off a 12-day break since their last match, the Timbers (4-5-6, 18pts) had their chances taking 10 shots on the night and had the advantage in corner kick opportunities 6-4, but suffered their third straight loss on the road and seventh shutout of the season.
Portland played without midfielder Tom Poltl and defender Scot Thompson due to league-imposed suspensions for their red cards issued on June 12 against the Atlanta Silverbacks. Midfielder Andrew Gregor did not play against Carolina due to injury.
Carolina took advantage of an early goal by Nuñez in the fourth minute. RailHawks forward Caleb Norkus played the ball to Nuñez with space in the box about 10 yards out. He fired a shot to the right of Timbers goalkeeper Ray Burse and into the back of the net. He now shares the team lead in scoring at five points and Norkus was awarded his first assist of the season.
In the sixth minute, Timbers forward Takayuki Suzuki had a chance to find the equalizer as he brought the ball down the right edge of the area but couldn’t find space to pull the trigger as the ball was cleared away from danger by a RailHawks defender.
A Portland free kick sparked a flurry of activity inside the RailHawks box in the 36th minute as defender Tim Karalexis was able to head the ball back across the goal mouth providing shot opportunities for Chris Brown and Neil Dombrowski but in the end, McClellan was able to secure the ball.
The Timbers play their second match in as many days as they take on the Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium at 4:55 p.m. (Pacific). A live broadcast of the match will be available through www.portlandtimbers.com; with a live video webcast available through USL Live at www.usllive.com.
Notes: Forward Bryan Jordan rejoined the Timbers on loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer on Friday. He entered the match as a sub in the 54th minute … Portland was dealt four yellow cards against Carolina … Midfielder Lawrence Olum made his first appearance since May 26, missing the last five league games due to injury … The Timbers are 1-3-3 on the road this season.
POR: GK Burse, D J. Thompson, D Knowles, D Griffin, D Karalexis, M Guante, M Higgins, M Dombrowski, M Brown, F Suzuki (Olum, 72), F Bagley (Jordan, 54)
CAR: GK McClellan, D Curfman, D Stokes, D Segovia, D Low, M Fusiller (Dombrowski, 83), M Solle, M Watson, M Nuñez (Long, 67), F Norkus (Edozien, 60), F Antoniuk (Walker, 76)
CAR: Nuñez (Norkus), 4