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RailHawks fall 2-0 to Portland, remain top of USL for now

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(from media relations)

PORTLAND – Before Saturday night, the Portland Timbers hadn’t scored a goal on the Carolina RailHawks in 370 minutes, a streak that included all three matches during the 2008 season.


In just less than 80 minutes Saturday, the Timbers scored twice.


Behind a fifth-minute goal from Brian Farber and an 83rd-minute insurance strike by Ryan Pore, Portland dealt the RailHawks a 2-0 defeat before 6,742 at PGE Park, ending Carolina’s season-opening four-match unbeaten streak.


“I think, from the perspective of how we performed, we played quite well,” said RailHawks coach Martin Rennie. “We outshot them 14-8, which away from home is good. I think sometimes, there’s so many draws in the USL, you just want to go for it. It just wasn’t meant to be. I’m sure we’ll bounce back.”


Like they did in Thursday’s scoreless draw against Portland, the RailHawks (3-1-1) took 14 shots but were unable to put one in the net Saturday. That was in large part due to Timbers goalkeeper Chris Seitz, who followed up Thursday’s six-save effort with a masterful nine-save performance Saturday.


Only two players (defender Mark Schulte and midfielder Amir Lowery) appeared in Rennie’s starting 11 Saturday who also were in the starting 11 on Thursday, and the lack of cohesion was evident in the match’s early going.


Portland (1-1-1) spent the first five minutes on the attack, and wasted little time breaking through.


In the fifth minute, Pore played a nice cross to the back post, and Farber beautifully headed it in. It was just the second goal Portland has every scored against the RailHawks in seven all-time meetings, and it marked the first Timbers goal against the RailHawks on their home field.


Farber’s early goal was the first the RailHawks conceded since their season-opening match on April 11, a span of 338 minutes, 19 shy of the club record for longest shutout streak. And it was the first time in any of their first five matches that they found themselves trailing.


The RailHawks nearly drew the match even during first-half stoppage time. After Kupono Low’s screaming free kick was saved by Seitz, defender Brad Rusin’s header on the ensuing corner kick smashed off the cross bar.


In the 55th minute, defender Jeremy Tolleson set up forward Sallieu Bundu from six yards out. Bundu turned and fired a shot on frame, but Seitz denied the RailHawks the equalizer once again. On the ensuing corner, Bundu took the ball down at the back post, but his attempt from inside the six went over the frame.


“On the road, you tend to find a lot of things go against you,” Rennie said. “We hit the bar and had a couple chances where we should have done more.”


In the 83rd minute, on a late counter attack, Pore took a pass from George Josten, then slotted the ball past Eric Reed for an extra Timbers goal.


Though the RailHawks went to Portland hoping for more than one point in the two matches, the trip was not a lost cause by any means. Despite Saturday’s loss, the RailHawks are still in first place in the USL First Division (though Vancouver can overtake them with a win Sunday against Puerto Rico, while the Islanders can pull into a tie with a win over the Whitecaps). And the RailHawks can look ahead to next their match – against Charleston at WakeMed Soccer Park on May 9 – knowing they own a perfect record against the Battery (6-0-0).


“Definitely, we wanted more than one point,” Rennie said. “But from my perspective, I’d rather go and try to win. One win is equal to three draws. So many games in the USL are draws. In certain circumstances, it pays to go for it. You do that, you leave yourself open, and that cost us this game [Saturday]. But I think it’s better to go for it. What I said to the guys was, had someone said, after five games, you’re going to win three, tie one, lose one and be on top of the league, would you accept that? Definitely.”



CAR:  GK Eric Reed, D Devon McKenney, D Mark Schulte, D Brad Rusin, D Jeremy Tolleson (John Gilkerson, 88th), MF Amir Lowery, MF Kupono Low, MF Matt Watson (Gavin Glinton, 67th), MF John Cunliffe, F Andriy Budnyy (Josh Gardner, 77th), F Sallieu Bundu (Hamed Diallo, 58th)


POR: GK Chris Seitz, D David Hayes, D Cameron Knowles, D Scot Thompson, D Mamadou Dansu, MF Brian Farber (Antou Jallow, 89th), MF Johan Claesson (Keith Savage, 58th), MF Tony McManus, MF Ryan Pore, F Mandjou Keita (Jason McLaughlin, 68th), F George Josten (Alex Nimo, 88th)


Scoring Summary

POR: Brian Farber (assisted by Ryan Pore), 5th minute

POR: Ryan Pore (assisted by George Josen), 83rd



CAR: Amir Lowery (45th)

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About the blogger

J. Mike Blake has been the Sports Editor for The Cary News and Southwest Wake News since October 2008. He holds two "unofficial" NCHSAA records in two different sports - highest career free throw percentage (2-of-2) in basketball and fewest career singles victories (zero. sigh.) for tennis.