Timbers face Battery in Charleston Friday on FSC

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers take their USL First Division-record 23-game unbeaten streak on the road this week as they face the Charleston Battery Friday at Blackbaud Stadium at 5 p.m. (Pacific) on Fox Soccer Channel.

The top-of-the-table matchup between the first-place Timbers and the Battery will be featured on FSC as the USL First Division Game of the Week. A live broadcast of the match will also be available online at www.portlandtimbers.com.

Entering the week, Portland has a six-point lead over the Battery and Carolina RailHawks, who are locked in a two-way tie for second place at 45 points. Carolina plays the Miami FC Blues Wednesday at home.

With a 3-1 win over Miami in their last match, the Timbers captured their fifth straight victory, extended their unbeaten run to 23 games and became the first team in the USL First Division this season to secure a playoff spot. The top seven teams advance to the postseason, with the first-place team receiving a first-round bye.

Forward Mandjou Keita found the back of the net twice and midfielder Ryan Pore scored in his sixth straight match against the Blues. Keita and Pore rank first and second, respectively, in both scoring and goals in the USL First Division.

The Timbers and Battery meet for the third and final time during the regular season on Friday. In the first matchup on June 13, Portland rallied to a 1-1 draw behind an 87th-minute equalizer by Keita. Earlier this month, the Timbers defeated the Battery 3-1 at PGE Park as part of the team’s current run of five straight wins. Since 2001, the Timbers are 5-6-2 all-time against the Battery. Portland and Charleston both rank among league leaders in the fewest goals conceded this season.

Recently signed midfielder Rodrigo Lopez has been cleared and will be available for selection for Friday’s match.

The Battery continues a five-game home stretch as they play host the Timbers for a second time during the 2009 campaign on Friday. Charleston is in position to clinch a playoff berth with a win over Portland. In its last match, the Battery played the Vancouver Whitecaps to a 1-1 draw on Aug. 20 at home. Goalkeeper Keith Wiggans has played in the team’s last three games, while Dusty Hudock, who leads the league in shutouts (12), has been out due to injury.