Timbers can't hold late lead, Charlotte rallies for 3-3 draw

August 24, 2001
at PGE Park, Portland, Oregon

19' - Portland: Mark Baena (Greg Howes)
65' - Portland: Gavin Wilkinson (Greg Howes)
66' - Charlotte: Leo Gajardo (Hugo Galeano)
68' - Portland: Mark Baena (Michael O'Neill)
72' - Charlotte: Dustin Swinehart (unassisted)
78' - Charlotte: Leo Gajardo (penalty kick)

The Timbers' offense finally opened up early in the second half of Friday's match against the Charlotte Eagles, but the Timbers couldn't hold leads of 2-0 and 3-1, and the Eagles rallied for a 3-3 draw against the Timbers in a match played in front of 4,884 fans at PGE Park. Mark Baena scored twice for the Timbers while Gavin Wilkinson netted his first goal of the season. Leo Gajardo scored twice for the Eagles while Dustin Swinehart scored as well.

Mark Baena beats Dwayne Adams for the first goal of the match

The Timbers dominated early play, and set the tone early that the Timbers indented to put the ball on net. In just the 4th minute, a dipping shot from 25 yards by Mark Baena went a few feet over the bar, but it set the tone for the entire evening. In the 12th minute, a Timbers free kick was headed up into the air from 6 yards out by Brent Sancho, and fell directly the feet of Scott Benedetti, whose shot from eight yards out deflected off an Eagles defender and was then cleared. In the 14th minute, the Eagles had their first good chance after a failed clearance by Benedetti, but the shot by Nate Watkins of the Eagles was deflected by Gavin Wilkinson.

The Eagles then had their first really good chance of the first half two minutes later when Jose Gomez made a diagonal run into the box, and played a cross to a charging Dustin Swinehart, but the ball was a foot too far in front of Swinehart. But three minutes later, the Timbers' Greg Howes chipped a pass into the run of Baena, who beat Eagles goalkeeper Dwayne Adams to the far side to give the Timbers an early 1-0 lead.

Matt Napoleon saves a corner kick

By the 23rd minute, the momentum had swung to the visitors, and the Eagles had another good scoring opportunity when a cross found Ryan Lieb to the right of Timbers goalkeeper Matt Napoleon, just four or five yards out, but his point blank shot from an extreme angle was saved off Napoleon's knees, who had cut off the angle well. Four minutes later, the Eagles were on the attack again when a chipped pass to Swinehart had to be punched out by Napoleon. In the 32nd minute, Eagles midfielder Leo Gajardo made a good run down the left side, all the way to the endline, and his dangerous cross had to be fisted out again by Napoleon.

After Napoleon's punch-out was headed back to him by Sancho, Napoleon collected the ball and punted, and must have been his longest punt of the year, maybe even of his career as traveled perhaps 70 yards, landing just outside the box at the other end of the pitch, where Howes managed to knock the ball down and had a good scoring opportunity, but he couldn't stop the bouncing ball, and his shot went well over the bar. In the 35th minute, Baena again found himself open from the top of the box, but this time his hard shot went directly to Adams, and was easily saved.

Gavin Wilkinson gets a header while Dustin Swinehart defends

Over the next 10 minutes, the Eagles had a series of corner kicks that kept the ball around the Timbers box, but Napoleon was not forced to make any difficult saves, and Napoleon had to come out to the top of the box in the 45th minute to collect a potentially dangerous pass, but neither team really threatened, and the half ended with the Timbers leading 1-0.

Both teams came out firing in the second half, and the back-and-forth play that would continue for the rest of the match began. In the 46th minute, Lieb had a good opportunity from near the top of the box, but his shot was saved by a diving save by Napoleon to the keeper's right. Just two minutes later, it was the Timbers turn to threaten when Howes' shot from 20 yards out went barely wide left, a shot that the Eagles keeper did not have covered. In the 50th minute, Howes was once again in a good position to score when he was able to make a run inside the top of the box, but Adams was once again up to the task with a diving save.

During the next 10 minutes, the Eagles had a few good chances off corner kicks, but attempted headers by Lieb and Ben Parry had gone wide right and left respectively. But after Darin Lewis was substituted in for Keith Costigan, the goals started coming fast and furious.

Mark Baena avoids a Ben Parry tackle

In the 67th minute, off a Howes corner kick, Wilkinson was in good position, and headed a hard shot that hit hard off the near post, but rebounded into the net, and the Timbers had a 2-0 lead. The cushion didn't last however, the Timbers were caught flat-footed and Eagles' defender Hugo Galeano was able to make a deep run, and he fed Garjardo, who beat Napoleon to cut the lead in half.

But two minutes later, the Timbers struck back as a series of quick passes from Lewis, to Michael O'Neill, to Baena had the Timbers forward in alone, and he beat Adams to the far side from 10 yards to put the Timbers in front 3-1. But once again the two-goal margin was short-lived. After a scramble in front of the Timbers goal, a chipped cross (which may have been deflected by a Timbers defender) was headed in by Swinehart from 8 yards, and the lead was once again cut to a goal.

In the 78th minute, the Timbers appeared ready to increase the lead to two goals again when a Lewis to Baena to O'Neill series of touch passes had O'Neill in alone on Adams, but his shot from 8 yards out missed the upper left corner by barely a foot. On the ensuing free kick, the ball was played from midfield to Lieb, who made a run down the left side, in front of the main grandstand, and provoked a sudden reaction from the fans and the Timbers bench as he appeared to knock the ball back into his path with his left hand at one point, but no call was made, and Lieb and Wilkinson battled all the way down into the edge of the box, where Wilkinson and Lieb again collided, but this time Lieb went down, and a penalty was awarded. Garjardo converted the penalty kick, and the two-goal lead had been erased.

Jeff Clarke

For the remainder of regulation, the Timbers controlled play, looking to regain the lead. In the 83rd minute, Baena was once again open from 20 yards out, but Adams once again made a diving save to keep the score level. In the 89th minute, a give-and-go between Howes and Baena had Howes in alone, but Adams made a fine reaction save on a shot to the short side. The Eagles had a few late shots from outside the box that were blocked away by Timbers defenders before they got into the box, and regulation ended with the score level at 3-3.

Three minutes into the first overtime, Swinehart made a deep run for the Eagles, but his attempt to chip Napoleon from an extreme angle was tipped wide by Napoleon. Three minutes later, a cross to Howes led to a headed shot on goal that was saved but not controlled, but Lewis was not able to get to the free ball quickly enough and Adams recovered in time to smother the shot. Two minutes later,. a Baena pass had Lewis with a good chance only 10 yards out, but his point-blank shot was saved by a another fine reaction save by Adams.

Michael O'Neill plays a pass back

In the second overtime, the Timbers continued to control the play, and in the 103rd minute, Howes made a cutback into the box and was all alone from 10 yards out, at an angle to the keeper's right, but chose to look for a pass instead of a shot, and the ball was cleared. Two minutes later, a Brian Winters had Baena once again in alone, but his shot from 15 yards out was blocked wide by the Eagles keeper. The Timbers were not able to threaten again, and even though the Eagles had a few late shots, once again, none of them made it into Napoleon, and the match ended in a 3-3 draw.

Shots: Timbers 18, Eagles 16
Saves: Timbers 9, Eagles 9
Fouls: Timbers 22, Eagles 17
Offside: Timbers 2, Eagles 1
Corners: Timbers 13, Eagles 4

Timbers 2 (Sancho 59' (yellow, hard tackle), O'Neill 75' (yellow, hard tackle))
Eagles 1 (Perry 109' (yellow, hard tackle))

Napoleon diving to cover a shot that went just wide
Portland: Matt Napoleon, Gavin Wilkinson, Brent Sancho, Matt Chulis, Keith Costigan (Darin Lewis 63'), Brian Winters, Michael O'Neill, Jeff Clarke, Scott Benedetti, Mark Baena, Greg Howes
Charlotte: Dwayne Adams, Hugo Galeano (Jeremy Sorzano 92'), Kevin O'Brien, Jose Correa, Ben Parry, Ryan Lieb, Leo Gajardo, Nate Wilkins, Rob Mouw (Caleb Norkus 66'), Dustin Swinehart, Jose Gomez (Jeff Johnson 70')
Scott Benedetti being held by Swinehart

Gavin Wilkinson (5) heads in the game's second goal

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