Timbers score early, then shut down Charleston attack for 2-0 victory

August 26, 2001
at PGE Park, Portland, Oregon


Michael O'Neill converts the penalty kick
Goals:
6' - Portland: Greg Howes (Keith Costigan)
25' - Portland: Michael O'Neill (penalty kick)

After a disappointing 3-3 tie against Charlotte on Friday night, the Timbers knew things wouldn't get any easier as the Charleston Battery, one of the top teams in the A-League and near the top of the Central Conference, paid a visit to PGE Park. The Timbers proved they were up to the task, as Greg Howes put a shot in off the crossbar in the 6th minute, then Michael O'Neill converted a penalty kick in the 25th minute, and the Timbers defense and Matt Napoleon shut down the Battery attack after that for a 2-0 win in front of 4,891 fans at PGE Park.

Seamus Donnelly's shot was blocked by Brent Sancho (26)

The Timbers didn't take long to assert themselves, taking advantage of their first scoring opportunity. In the 6th minute, Keith Costigan played a diagonal through ball from 30 yards out into the run of Greg Howes, who slipped in behind the last defender, and blasted a hard shot with his first touch from 10 yards out that hit off the bottom of the crossbar, then down into the net to give the Timbers a 1-0 lead. The next good scoring opportunity came in the 19th minute for the Timbers when a Michael O'Neill cross was headed with alot of pace by Jesus Ochoa, but the shot went a few feet over the bar.

The Battery had their first good scoring chance in the 21st minute when Velko Iotov pushed forward into the box to the Timbers keepers' left, but his shot from 15 yards out at an angle went harmlessly wide right. These first few minutes set the tone for the match when there would plenty of opportunities for both teams, but very few shots on net.

In the 25th minute, O'Neill had a good run into the left side of the box off a Costigan pass and was being defended by Charleston's Dan Calichman, and O'Neill flicked the ball back up, attempting to go behind Calichman, but the Charleston defender instead grabbed O'Neill's shirt, taking him down, and a penalty kick was called. O'Neill converted the penalty kick to the right side of the net, and the Timbers had a 2-0 lead.

Michael O'Neill chipped this ball back and to his right and was held by Dan Calichman for the penalty kick foul

In the 30th minute, the Battery had a free kick from 25 yards out that was chipped into the box where Paul Conway attempted to making a diving header on the ball, but he was only able to get a glancing shot, and the ball bounced innocently back to Timbers goalkeeper Matt Napoleon. Less than a minute later, the Battery once again had a free kick, this time from just inside the box, and a quick restart touch into the ball was charged by Napoleon and Battery attacker John Ball, with both getting to the ball at the same time. Napoleon received a hard kick to his right arm, and play was stopped for three minutes while Napoleon was given medical care. Napoleon would remain in goal for the remainder of the match.

After a 14 minute stretch where neither team made a good attack, the Battery had one of their best chances of the match in the 44th minute when Ball took a low shot from 25 yards that did not have alot of pace, but was well placed towards the left corner. Napoleon was forced to his only official save of the match, a diving save to his right, landing on his recently injured elbow, but he tipped the ball wide to maintain the shutout, and the teams went into halftime with the Timbers leading 2-0.

Gavin Wilkinson battles with Paul Conway

Both teams played a more wide-open attacking style, but shots forcing saves by the opposing keeper continued to be a rare occurrence for either team. Just after the start of the second half, Portland's Mark Baena had a golden opportunity when he found himself briefly open from 18 yards out, but his attempt to volley the shot into the left side of the net went barely a yard wide left.

In the 55th minute, the Timbers had another good chance wasted when Howes played a wide pass to Costigan, whose cross into the box was stopped but not controlled by Charleston goalkeeper Dusty Hudock. The Timbers attempts to chip the shot into the net were blocked by Battery defenders, then when the ball trickled wide, Howes shot went wide right. In the 59th minute, a through ball to Tim Sahaydak had the Battery attacker briefly in alone on Napoleon, but his shot from 15 yards went barely wide right, not missing by more than a yard.

In the 62nd minute, Charleston was on the attack again when Seamus Donnelly controlled the ball across the top of the Timbers box, but his attempted shot from 18 yards was blocked by Portland's Brent Sancho. Just three minutes later, the Battery were on the attack again when Iotov made a deep run to the keeper's right, but his attempted low cross into the box was a foot or so too far behind Donnely for the Battery attacker to control.

Timber Jim saws of a piece of a log to celebrate the 2nd Timbers goal

On the counterattack, the Timbers had another good scoring chance when a Costigan through ball to Baena resulted in a well-paced shot that went a few yards wide right. In the 67th minute, Charleston had a corner kick go directly to Conway, who had good position in the box, but the ball was a little higher than he expected, and his shot went straight up and was controlled by Napoleon. Three minutes later, Charleston's Mac Cozier had a hard diagonal shot from 20 yards that appeared dangerous, but Portland's Matt Chulis trapped the ball at the 6 yard box and cleared.

In the 76th minute the Timbers were on the attack again when a dangerous cross from Baena forced Hudock to fist the ball wide. Six minutes later, the Timbers were threatening again when Howes controlled the ball across the top of the box for three or four dribbles, before finally finding an open shot, but his shot went directly at Hudock as the Battery goalkeeper registered his first official save of the match.

Jesus Ochoa (behind 13 John Ball) sent this header over the bar

On the ensuing counterattack, a long chip into the bath of Cozier had the Battery on a dangerous attack, but Napoleon charged out of the net and got to the ball just before Cozier did and punched the ball out of the box. One minute later, Baena played a wide pass to Howes who found himself alone in the box at an angle and his hard shot was saved by Hudock, but the ball fell directly to Baena's foot, but Baena's attempted volley went wide right.

In the 86th minute, Conway dropped a pass back to Brian Piesner, but the Charleston midfielder's shot from 20 yards was high and wide right. The Timbers had one final scoring chance in the 88th minute when Howes attempted chip from 20 yards went high and wide to the right. The Timbers score an important 2-0 win over the visitors from Charleston, and keep their playoffs hope alive, as well as building confidence that they can hold a lead after twice losing 2 goal leads Friday night against Charlotte.

A through ball into the run of Greg Howes
Stats:
Shots: Timbers 11, Battery 7
Saves: Timbers 1, Battery 2
Fouls: Timbers 13, Battery 16
Offside: Timbers 5, Battery 6
Corners: Timbers 1, Battery 4
Dog attendance: 82
Cautions:
Timbers 1 (Sancho 87' (yellow, hard tackle))
Battery 1 (Calichman 25' (yellow, holding O'Neill))

Starters:
Portland: Matt Napoleon, Gavin Wilkinson, Brent Sancho, Matt Chulis, Keith Costigan, Brian Winters, Michael O'Neill, Jesus Ochoa (Darren Sawatzky 86'), Scott Benedetti, Mark Baena, Greg Howes
Charleston: Dusty Hudock, Gilbert Jean-Baptiste, Dan Calichman (Brian Piesner 78'), John Wilson, John Ball (Colin Phillips 85'), Kevin Anderson, Matt Farris (Tim Sahaydak 45'), Jukka Rantala, Velko Iotov (Brian Alvero 76'), Paul Conway, Seamus Donnely (Mac Cozier 68')
Brent Sancho clears a ball from Paul Conway's control

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