Early Charleston goal downs Timbers

PORTLAND, Ore. - Stephen Armstrong scored an early goal and Keith Wiggans recorded a shutout as the Charleston Battery defeated the Portland Timbers 1-0 Sunday night in front of 5,112 at PGE Park.

After being eliminated from playoff contention Thursday night, the Timbers (7-14-6, 27pts) dropped their second straight match by the same 1-0 scoreline.

Charleston (13-8-6, 45pts), which has clinched a playoff spot, swept the two-game regular season series, and also defeated the Timbers in a U.S. Open Cup match.

Just four minutes into the match, the Battery forwards teamed up for the game’s only goal. Jordan Hughes sent a cross from the right side toward a streaking Armstrong. Armstrong collected the pass in stride and sent a blazing shot past Timbers goalkeeper Martin Hutton to give the Battery the early advantage.

The Timbers also had an early chance at getting on the board. In the first minute, Mamba Chisoni intercepted the ball inside of the penalty area and then sent a pass toward midfield, which found Byron Alvarez. Alvarez launched a shot toward the goal, but it was deflected by a Battery defender.

Timbers midfielder Ronnie Silva and Alvarez nearly connected for a goal in the 15th minute. Silva sent a cross from the right flank to Alvarez as he broke toward the inside of the penalty area. Alvarez collected the ball and hit a strike that sailed to the left side of the post and out of bounds.

Portland looked to level the score in the 64th minute when substitute Yuri Morales collected a loose ball off of an Alvarez pass toward the middle of the penalty box. He had a clean strike at the goal, but Wiggans deflected it out of bounds for the save.

Up next, the Timbers close out the 2006 season Thursday, September 7 against the Atlanta Silverbacks. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

NOTES: Martin Hutton started in goal, his first start since July 22 in Seattle … the Timbers held their first-ever “Teddy Bear Toss” during the game, with the stuffed animals being donated to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital … a hotdog-eating contest was held at halftime.

“This is a league where, next year, you add three or four key elements to the squad and now you're in the top two or three. It's a very tight league; it's a very tough league. We just do the best we can. We try to keep them positive. If you lost your game 1-0, hey, tomorrow is another day. We're all relatively healthy individuals and we're expected to come out and do our job.”

SCORING SUMMARY: CHA: Armstrong 4’ (Hughes)

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY: POR: Randolph YC (16’), Goodfellow YC (40’), Alvarez YC (87’) CHA: Alavania YC (20’), Lesesne YC (22’), Watson (87’).

LINEUPS: CHARLESTON (13-8-6): K. Wiggans GK, T. Karalexis D, M. Watson D, B. Curran D, K. Nylen D, L. Vercollone M, L. Alavania M, T. Lesesne M, U. Okoye M, S. Armstrong F, J. Hughes D (McKnight 69’).
PORTLAND (7-14-6): M. Hutton GK, G. Marcum D, M. Nsien D, J. Goodfellow D (Morrison 60’), M. Randolph D, M. Chisoni M, R. Silva M (Morales 61’), M. Chabala M, T. Poltl M, B. Alvarez F, L. Kreamalmeyer F.