The first-place Timbers visit the Charleston Battery tonight at Blackbaud Stadium at 5 p.m. (Pacific) live on Fox Soccer Channel. A live broadcast is also available online at portlandtimbers.com. Or follow live updates via Twitter.
Click here for tonight's match notes.Tonight's Starters:
POR: GK Cronin, D Thompson, D Keel, D Danso, D Hayes, M Nimo, M McManus, M Savage, M Suzuki, F Pore, F Keita
CHB: GK Wiggans, D Sanfilippo, D Bobo, D Akwari, D Wilson, M Williams, M Buete, M Fuller, F Yoshitake, F Spicer, F PattersonMatch Preview:
The Portland Timbers, on a USL First Division-record 23-game unbeaten streak, visit the Charleston Battery tonight in a top-of-the-table matchup, featuring two of the top defensive teams in the league. The Timbers have allowed a league-low 13 goals this season, while Charleston has conceded just 15 on the campaign.
The Timbers (14-1-9, 51pts) have won five straight matches, including a 3-1 victory over the Miami FC Blues last weekend, and remain in first place in the USL First Division. The win extended the team’s unbeaten streak to 23 matches and also helped Portland become the first club to claim one of seven playoff spots this season.
Entering tonight’s contest, one of the final road matches of the regular season, the Timbers have won their last two games on the road and posted a 5-1-7 record away from PGE Park. Portland has out-scored its opponents, 17-9, on the road during the 2009 campaign.
Midfielder Ryan Pore has scored in each of the Timbers last six matches, setting a new Timbers modern-franchise record for goals scored in consecutive matches. The mark was previously held by forwards McKinley Tennyson (2002) and Alan Gordon (2004), who both scored in five straight matches. During Pore’s goal-scoring run, the Timbers are 5-0-1.
The Timbers and Battery square off for the third time this season and the second time second at Blackbaud Stadium. On June 13, the Timbers received an 87th-minute goal from forward Mandjou Keita to earn a 1-1 draw on the road. The two sides met at PGE Park on Aug. 8, with the Timbers defeating Charleston 3-1 on goals by Keita, Pore and midfielder Alex Nimo.
Portland is 5-6-2 all-time against the Battery, including a 1-4-1 mark in Charleston. The Timbers’ lone win in Charleston was on June 4, 2004, using a 90th minute penalty-kick goal by Alex Bengard to seal a 2-1 victory.
Tonight, the Timbers are without midfielder Johan Claesson and defender Cameron Dunn due to injury. Claesson continues to recover from a minor concusion sustained on Aug. 8 against the Battery at PGE Park, while Dunn is out with a knee injury.
Following tonight’s match, the Timbers return home to close out their 2009 season series against the Rochester Rhinos at PGE Park at 7 p.m. Portland is 2-0-0 against Rochester this season.