Montreal scores late winner to beat Timbers

PORTLAND, Ore. – Leonardo Di Lorenzo scored in the 88th minute to lead the Montreal Impact over the Portland Timbers 1-0 in front of 7,043 Thursday night at PGE Park.

With the loss, the Timbers (7-13-6, 27pts) are mathematically eliminated from the USL First Division playoff race, as they needed to win in each of their last three games for a chance at a spot in the post-season.

Montreal (14-5-9, 51pts) added to its league-leading record as they secured a first-round bye in the playoffs with the win.

Both teams battled to a scoreless draw through 88 minutes before Di Lorenzo broke the game open. Di Lorenzo’s header on a cross from David Fronimadis found its way between the post and Timbers goalkeeper Bayard Elfvin to give the Impact the late victory.

The goal was the first surrendered by Elfvin in his last three games, after playing 268 shutout minutes in goal.

The Timbers had a chance to equalize at the end of regulation when a pass was sent inside the penalty box toward the on-rushing Alejandro Gutierrez. Gutierrez was unable to get a shot off, however, as Impact goalkeeper Greg Sutton smothered the ball.

Montreal got the first opportunity of the match when Patrick Leduc managed to sneak a shot from the sideline past a Timbers defender. Elfvin was ready for the shot, however, and easily collected the ball.

The Timbers had a chance in the 70th minute when Oral Bullen broke loose from an Impact defender and sent a pass to Ronnie Silva on the right flank. Silva dribbled in and sent a shot toward the inside post, but it sailed into the arms of Sutton.

Next up, the Timbers face the Charleston Battery on Sunday night. Kick off is scheduled for 6 p.m. at PGE Park.

“We have some tremendous players to build around, and build this franchise around, and that's what it's all about. You learn more from losing than you do winning and in a season where it's been a below .500 season, we've learned a tremendous amount that we can build on and fix and make for a tremendous 2007. But there are a lot of pieces that are already in place. Even when we're not playing great, we're taking the top team as far as we can take them.”

NOTES: Luke Kreamalmeyer, who has played in all 26 games this season, was shown a yellow card for the first time … A championship dodgeball match was held during halftime; the black team reigned victorious … Byron Alvarez and Michael Nsien were forced to miss the match after accumulating too many yellow cards.

SCORING SUMMARY: MON: Di Lorenzo 88’ (Fronimadis).

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY: POR: Chisoni YC (8’) Kreamalmeyer YC (40’) ; MON: Gervais YC (34’), Fukasawa YC (89’).

LINEUPS: MONTREAL (14-5-9): G. Sutton GK, G. Gervais D, A. Braz D, D. Fronimadis D, L. Lyssand D, P. Leduc M, M. Mert M (Gatti 73’), L. Di Lorenzo M, M. Biello M, J. Bailey F (Fukasawa 84’), M. Salles (Antoniuk 69’).
PORTLAND (7-13-6): B. Elfvin GK, G. Marcum D, J. Goodfellow D, M. Randolph D, M. Chabala M, L. Morrison M (Gutierrez 83’), T. Poltl M, H. Alcaraz-Cuellar, M. Chisoni M, Y. Morales F (Silva 59’), L. Kreamalmeyer F (O. Bullen 59’).