Friday, May 3, 2013
PORTLAND — Now that the Portland Timbers have tasted success, settling for a draw is more of a disappointment.
The Timbers extended their unbeaten streak to seven matches with a scoreless tie against the New England Revolution on Thursday night. Portland kept Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth busy with 22 shots, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Portland’s streak is its longest without a loss since the team joined Major League Soccer in 2011. It demonstrates the turnaround the Timbers have made since last season, when they finished second-to-last in the Western Conference and out of the playoffs.
“Obviously it’s not a loss, it’s a tie. We get a point,” said Timbers coach Caleb Porter, who took over the team this season. “But we feel we let two points slip away.”
Shuttleworth was stellar, finishing with nine saves as the Timbers dominated possession. Donovan Ricketts had four saves for Portland.
The Timbers stand at 3-1-5 on the season and Thursday’s draw was their first match without a goal.
“It’s hard to say we got shut out. We shut ourselves out,” Portland midfielder Will Johnson said. “We had our chances, they were there.”
The Revolution are 2-3-3, but remain winless on the road.
Portland was coming off a 3-2 road win Saturday against Sporting Kansas City. Rodney Wallace scored the winner for Portland in the 58th minute. The Revolution defeated the Philadelphia Union 2-2 on Saturday, snapping a five-match unbeaten streak
New England was without left back Chris Tierney after he was suspended a game “for a reckless challenge that endangered the safety of his opponent,” a tackle against Sebastian Le Toux last weekend against the Union. Tierney also was fined for the tackle.
Portland’s Darlington Nagbe missed an opportunity in the 15th minute when he got a second chance on a shot that deflected off Shuttleworth but couldn’t finish.
New England’s Ryan Guy’s attempt in the 42nd minute caromed off the fingertips of Ricketts and sailed just over the net, and the two teams went to the break at 0-0.
Portland forward Ryan Johnson’s strike from inside the box in the 53rd minute was bobbled slightly by Shuttleworth, but he dived on it just as Johnson was coming in for a second chance.
The Timbers were hurt shortly thereafter when center back Mikael Silvestre went down and had to be carried from the field by a stretcher. He was replaced by Andrew Jean-Baptiste.
Silvestre was signed by Portland in February to bring some veteran experience to the backfield, after playing for English Premier League sides Manchester United from 1999-2008 and Arsenal from 2008-2010.
The extent of the 35-year-old defender’s injury was not clear. Porter said after the game that he did not have an update on Silvestre.
Portland dominated possession for most of the rest of the match. Diego Valeri had a high-arcing free kick in the 68th minute that failed to reach teammate Wallace before Shuttleworth got to it. Valeri got a good look in the 82nd minute, but it went wide by just inches.
“Bobby did a nice job,” New England coach Jay Heaps said. “It’s the second game in a row he’s done a nice job, and it (Jeld-Wen) is a tough environment.”
Ricketts may have saved the game for the Timbers late in the match when he dived to stop a breakaway shot by Saer Sene.
It was Ricketts’ third clean sheet of the season.
“You need to be hungry and you need to dig deep to win games,” Porter said in the end. “I thought we did that, but we just couldn’t find the goal.”
The Timbers Army supporter’s group unfurled a banner reading “Boston, Oregon,” and offered well wishes for Revolution defender Kevin Alston, who was diagnosed with leukemia and is out indefinitely. Another sign displayed at Jeld-Wen said “Boston Strong.”
Portland also welcomed 8-year-old Atticus Lane-Dupre and his soccer team, the Green Machine, to the match. On Wednesday the Green Machine played the Timbers in a match arranged by the team and Make-A-Wish Oregon.
The Green Machine won 10-9, paced by Atticus’ four goals, including the winner.
The attendance was announced at 20,674, the 39th sellout at Jeld-Wen Field.