BAYAMON, PR – Forward Taiwo Atieno scored the game’s lone goal in the 56th minute as the Puerto Rico Islanders defeated the Portland Timbers 1-0 at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon, Puerto Rico on Sunday. Playing their third game in four days, the Timbers managed just six shots against the Islanders.
Portland (12-5-8, 47pts) suffered just its fifth loss of the season and remain winless in Puerto Rico in its last three attempts. All five of the Timbers losses this season have come on the road. The loss snaps a two-game winning streak for the Timbers.
Portland’s leading scorer, midfielder Andrew Gregor, left the match in the 25th minute due to injury. Gregor went down early in the match after he was stripped of the ball by a Puerto Rico player. He returned to action for a few more minutes before being replaced by Shaun Higgins.
From the opening whistle, Puerto Rico (10-7-9, 39pts) applied constant pressure on the Timbers defense, and it paid off in the 56th minute. A long cross by Peter Villegas found Atieno on the far post. Atieno then drilled his fifth goal of the season into a narrow gap between Timbers goalkeeper Josh Wicks and the post. Wicks appeared to get a piece of the ball but could not stop it from finding the back of the net.
The win, gives the Islanders 39 points and puts them in a three-way tie for fourth place in the USL First Division.
Wicks, and the Timbers backline withstood Puerto Rico’s pressure in the first half as he made several stops to keep the score locked at 0-0. In the first 45 minutes of the match, Portland was out shot 6-3.
In the second half, Wicks made two great saves to keep the game within reach. In the 63rd minute, Wicks tipped an 11-yard shot by forward Willie Sims over the crossbar and out of play. Late in the match, Wicks foiled a breakaway by forward Alberto Delgado. Wicks, charging off his line, knocked the ball off Delgado’s foot at the top of the box with a sliding challenge.
Two of the Timbers’ three shots in the first half came on quick counter attacks by forward Matt Taylor. Islanders goalkeeper Michael Behonick stopped both shots as he recorded three saves in the match to pick up his third win of the season.
The Timbers face the Carolina RailHawks in their next match as they continue their stretch of road matches to finish the 2007 regular season. Portland travels to Carolina on Sept. 1; kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. (Pacific).
Notes: Former Timbers goalkeeper Josh Saunders, who now plays for Puerto Rico, was on the roster but did not play against his former team … The Timbers finished the 2007 season series against Puerto Rico 1-1-0, and are now 4-3-0 all-time against the Islanders …
POR: GK Wicks, D Griffin, D J. Thompson, D Knowles, D S. Thompson, M Hague, M Morrison (Poltl, 45), M Gregor (Higgins, 25), M Dombrowski (Olum, 72), M Kreamalmeyer (Bagley, 72), F M. Taylor (Jordan, 57)
PR: GK Behonik, D Velez, D Needham, D Gonzalez (Miranda, 74), D Segovia, D Rivera, M Villegas (Ortiz, 83), M Gonzales, M Johnson (Krause, 88), M Lyssand, F Sims (N. Delgado, 72), F Atieno (Simmonds, 80)
PR: Atieno (Villegas), 56