Timbers' wild ride keeps rolling

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Portland Timbers waited until the last minute to grab a 2-1 victory from the Charleston Battery, winning on an Alex Bengard penalty kick in stoppage time Friday night at Blackbaud Stadium.

The Timbers, who were playing with a man down for much of the second half after Byron Alvarez drew a red card ejection in the 62nd, were awarded a penalty kick after Alan Gordon was held inside the box. Bengard broke the 1-1 tie, calmly chipping in the game-winning goal to preserve the Timbers’ unblemished record.

With the win, the Timbers moved to 6-0-0 on the year and remain in first place in the Western Conference as the last team in the A-League without a loss or a tie.

For Charleston (2-4-3, 9pts), the defending A-League champion, it was its second straight loss and third of the season at Blackbaud Stadium.

The Timbers jumped out in front in the 29th when Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar played a ball ahead to Gordon, who out-paced his defender and beat the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation, knocking his league-leading seventh goal of the season into the right side of the net.

Paul Conway, son of Timbers assistant coach Jimmy Conway, deadlocked the match for the Battery in the 42nd, spearing in a cross from teammate Greg Simmonds to make it 1-1 at the half.

Portland goalkeeper Josh Saunders registered another solid game between the posts, notching seven saves while facing 17 shots on goal under considerable pressure from the Battery.

The Timbers move on to Atlanta, where they’ll clash with the Silverbacks tomorrow at 3 p.m. (Pacific).

SCORING SUMMARY: Alan Gordon, 29’ (Alcaraz-Cuellar); Conway, 42’ (Simmonds); Bengard, 90’ (PK)

PENALTY SUMMARY: POR Alvarez, YC (48’), Alvarez, RC (62’); CHR Evans, YC (50’), Hudock, YC (90’)

LINEUPS: PORTLAND (6-0-0) J. Saunders GK, Morrison D, Wilkinson D, Heinzen D, S. Saunders D (Winters 40’), Benedetti M, Bengard M, Alcaraz-Cuellar M, Sagare M, Gordon F, Alvarez F; CHARLESTON (2-4-3) Hudock GK, Kutney D, Watson D, Klein D, McKinley D (Jensen 67’), Korol M (Bagley 73’), Jackson M, Evans M, Smith M (Hoy 84’), Conway F, Simmonds F (Harris 69’).