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Friday, June 18, 2004

All Tired Out: Timbers 1 Rochester 2

The Rochester Raging Rhinos came, saw and conquered last night at PGE Park, throwing the 2004 Timbers season so far into some sort of perspective.

Portland found that pushing into the rarefied heights of the top few teams in the A-League is still going to be hard even with their new-improved 2004 version coming off a 6 game winning start. The Timbers have now lost 3 out of their last 4 and looked like a team stunned by the Rhinos energy level, organization and strength.

At the end of the game the Timbers looked tired and with no help coming off Bobby Howe's bench (the inference must be that he was playing for extra time, however for the tired team playing 7 minutes of injury time, de facto extra time had already started!!)

In fact the Timbers hardly played last night before the 60th minute when keeper Josh Saunders left the field on a stretcher after falling on his hip (Saunders is being X-Rayed today and the initial prognosis is Josh could be out anywhere from a week to two months.

[UPDATE: The X-Ray turned up negative for a fracture and josh will be able to go on the Timbers road-trip with the hip padded.]

But rewind to just after 7pm and it was almost all Rhinos as the busy-bee like Carrieri and the proud Woolfolk took it to the Timbers defence.

And defending was what this game was all about and the Timbers did a poor job, not just in the back third, but all over the field. Pressured by the Rhinos who worked hard everywhere, Portland were pressured into playing around at the back, messing around in midfield and losing the ball wide.

The Timbers did have chances. Benedetti hooking over from Alcaraz-Cuellar's ball into the box on 20' and Bengard's free kick on 23' seemingly slicing through the box (maybe getting a touch?) and coming off the post on 23', but it was mostly Rochester capitalizing on errors.

Carrieri missed a volley from 8yds on 9' and Saunders saved point-blank from Woolfolk a minute later.

The Rhinos took the lead on 38' when the Timbers lost the ball on their right side, with the ball loose Heinzen tried and failed to make the covering sliding tackle and Woolfolk was in. His cross was met by Carrieri, but Saunders could only parry his shot into the path of Kirk Wilson to make it 0-1 Rochester.

The half ended with Saunders having to make another save from Carrieri's 25yd shot and the Timbers must have gone in at the half feeling lucky to only be a single goal down.

The second half saw Henning replace the reportedly sick Wilkinson and he added some steel and control into the Timbers defence looking like a player who should be in the starting line-up.

The Rhinos continued their attacking play however with Saunders having to save well from Carrieri from 18yds on 46' and Woolfolk hitting the post, but the Rhinos being called for offside.

On 51' Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar got a cross into the box, one of very few on the night, but it was too close to Rochester keeper Zagar.

The Timbers did step up the pressure in this period and on 52' Alan Gordon got in on goal, but his cross across the Rochester goal towards Alcaraz-Cuellar was cleared.

On 54' Wilson hit the Timbers post after Carrieri's shot had hit Saunders, the Timbers keeper going down heavily on his hip. Josh was down for about 5 minutes and was eventually stretchered off to be replaced by Bayard Elfvin for his first game in a Timbers jersey.

All credit to Elfvin and Timbers goalkeeping coach Jim Brazeau. Sitting on the bench week after week, with little prospect of getting into the first team must be hard, but Elfvin was superb.

Immediately the Timbers woke up, 65 minutes too late.

65' Alcaraz-Gordon-Alvarez, but Byron couldn't turn and get a shot off cleanly.
67' Benedetti to Sagare, finally getting to the goal-line, and his cross again left Alvarez with his back to goal, but his shot on the turn was just over.

The Timbers and the crowd were energized. 73' and Bengard's free kick aimed at the far post was met by Henning, but his header was wide.

Then on 74' the Timbers were awarded a penalty after Carlos Mendes was called for handball when Alcarez-Cuellar's ball into Byron Alvarez bobbled up.

Bengard's penalty was spot-on perfect into the left corner. Scores level at 1 - 1.

In the final minutes Benedetti's volley was saved by Zagar, Sagare beat Demmin to get the ball into Gordon in the box, but the ball was again scrambled clear.

Elfvin made 2 great saves late, on 88' from sub Miller (on for Carrieri) and in injury time from a long range blast from Sedgewick.

With the 7 minutes of injury time running out and the Timbers tiring it was again a defensive lapse (wide on the Timbers left by Heinzen) that let Kirk Wilson draw Elfin out and set up Miller for the last gasp winner.

The Timbers now need to regroup for next weeks midwest road-trip with back-to-back games against Minnesota and Milwaukee.

[Press]
O - Mistakes Prompt Threat from Coach
Democrat and Chronicle - Miller's Late Goal Lifts Rhinos to Victory

posted by the timberlog at 8:45 AM



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