Timbers, Rochester battle to 0-0 draw at PGE Park

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers battled the Rochester Rhinos to a 0-0 draw before 7,519 fans Thursday night at PGE Park. Portland's defense held Rochester to just four shots and goalkeeper Ray Burse collected one save to pick up the team's third shutout of the season.

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With the draw Thursday, the Timbers (3-0-1, 10pts) remain unbeaten this season and extend their unbeaten run of regular-season matches at PGE Park to 18.

Forward Chris Brown had perhaps the Timbers best scoring opportunity of the night in the 78th minute. The ball was played into the box and rattled off the head of forward Takayuki Suzuki and midfielder Andrew Gregor and landed at the feet of Brown 10 yards out, but he pushed his shot at the far post just wide of the goal and out of play.

The Timbers' backline held Rochester to just four shots on the night – all coming in the first half. Burse's one save came early in the match on a free kick by Rochester forward Mauricio Salles from the top of the box about 20 yards out. Portland has now recorded three shutouts in its first four matches of the season.

Rochester (0-2-1, 1pt) fought off seven shots and a late surge by the Timbers in the second half to pick up their first point of the season with the draw.

The Rhinos maintained possession for a majority of the first half, but both sides had four shots a piece as they ended the first half locked at 0-0. Playing defense most of the first half, the Timbers committed 12 fouls in the opening 45 minutes attempting to disrupt the Rochester attack.

A foul in the 10th minute by Portland defender Cameron Knowles set up 21-yard free kick by Salles at the top of the box. A low shot by Salles snuck its way around a Portland six-man wall but fell into the arms of Burse for the save.

Portland midfielder Kiki Lara, making his first start of the season, nearly found the back off the net in the 28th minute. On an overlapping run, Timbers defender Scot Thompson sent a cross into the box from deep in the corner on the right side. Lara, at the back post, attempted a header under pressure but the ball sailed off target.

Late in the first half, Rochester forward Hamed Diallo gained the advantage on a Portland defender to force a one-on-one opportunity with Burse. About 12 yards out from goal, Diallo lost his footing and stumbled on his shot attempt forcing the ball wide in the 44th minute.

Portland gained momentum late in the match and nearly found the first goal of the night in the 82nd minute. Both teams scrambled to earn possession on a ball played into the box, and the ball worked its way out to Portland's Suzuki inside the six-yard box just beyond the left post. From a tight angle, Suzuki unleashed a shot but it was deflected by a Rochester player and sent out of play.

After four consecutive home games to start the season, the Timbers begin a stretch of road matches on Saturday as they head north to face the Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field at 7 p.m. A live broadcast of the match will be available online at www.portlandtimbers.com. A live video webacast will be available through USL Live at www.usllive.com.

Notes: The Timbers were held scoreless for the first time this season on Thursday … Arriving late last week, midfielder Arsene Oka made his 2008 Timbers debut against Rochester.

POR: GK Burse, D S. Thompson, J. Thompson, D Knowles, D Griffin, M Higgins, M Guante (Oka, 89), M Lara (Little, 70), M Gregor, F Brown (Bagley, 87), F Suzuki

ROC: GK Vallow, D Palguta, D Charles, D Craft, D Kreamalmeyer, D Bonseu (Ball, 89), M Fitzpatrick, M Menyongar, M Roberto, F Salles (Delicate, 76), F Diallo

Scoring Summary: