Austin Aztex vs. Portland Timbers.
Thursday, August 26th, 2010.
PGE Park; 7 p.m. Kickoff; Attendance: 14985; Weather: Partly Cloudy.
Austin Aztex 1 - Portland Timbers 1.
PDX Bright Dike; 4th minute.
AUS Sullivan Silva; 26th minute. (assisted by Eddie Johnson)
Hit the cut for our play by play, plus quotes from Forward Bright Dike, Defender and Captain Ian Joy, and Head Coach Gavin Wilkinson, as well as former Timbers player Leonard Griffin.
Rookie forward Bright Dike helped secure a point against the Timbers conference opponent Austin Aztex. The point moves the Timbers into fourth place overall in the race for league playoff position. The strike by Bright Dike was his fifth goal of the season and his third goal in four matches. A crowd of 14,985, including around a dozen traveling supporters from Texas, witnessed the battle that ended 1-1. The head referee received plenty of camera time as he issued eight yellow cards and two red cards in the physical match.
It only took Dike four minutes to get his name on the scoresheet. An Aztex player headed the ball in the direction of Steven Purdy. With his first touch, Purdy passed the ball and a defender bobbled the clearance attempt. This led to the ball landing at Dike's feet and he made sure to put the Timbers up by one. The celebration erupted inside PGE Park.
In the 6th minute Max Griffin thought he tied it up but was ruled offsides. They did however find the equalizer in the 26th minute. A freekick was awarded to the Aztex after a foul by a Timbers player just inside their own half. Forward Eddie Johnson chested the freekick down to midfielder Sullivan Silva. The ball fell to him just outside of the box and Silva did not hesitate to thump the ball through defender Ross Smith's legs and into the far post. Just minutes before Bright Dike was fouled in the box but the referee waved play on.
The first yellow card of the night went to Kieron Bernard in the 29th minute. The defender was beat on a run by Dike and he opted for the late challenge. Ian Joy took the freekick but Mamadou Danso's header went well wide. Another Aztex player, Yordany Alvarez, was booked in the 36th minute after arguing a whistle. On the play Bernard was the player who should have been sent off since he grabbed a handful of Dike's jersey and pulled him down from behind. One last yellow card was shown before the break. This time Bright Dike found his way into the referee's notebook after a dangerous challenge. Later Keith Savage had to leave the playing field after being elbowed and receiving a cut behind his ear. The Timbers had a few more chances before the halftime break but could not break through. The last chance of the half fell to Savage but it was blocked and goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo was able to handle it easily.
Just minutes after the restart Savage had to be subbed out after suffering another injury. Johan Claesson replaced the injured midfielder.
In the 56th minute, Kieron Bernard was sent off after taking down a charging Ryan Pore. The Timbers had the man advantage but almost in the 64th minute gave up the game-winning goal. Purdy gave up the ball near the halfway line to Silva. Silva took one glance up and crossed the ball into Eddie Johnson. Steve Cronin came to the edge of the box and attempted to punch the ball away but was beaten by Johnson. The ball was destined to the back of the empty net. Mamadou Danso was able to save the ball from trickling in though and calmly brought the ball out of the defensive third.
The match continued to be physical and the brandishing of yellow cards became tradition. In the 69th minute the referee blew his whistle and asked the linesman to help halt play. The ref ran over to Head Coach Adrian Heath and sent him off for abusive language. The lineman failed to stop play and so the Timbers got two cracks at the play. The Timbers had several more chances throughout the end of the match of raising their goal tally but lacked the quality inside the box.
Just before the final whistle there was more action on the field for the referee to handle. Just as the opposing keeper controlled the ball, Ian Joy took a swipe at it. Joy was immediately surrounded by four Aztex players. Rodrigo Lopez ran to the scuffle to try to help his teammate out. Lopez was grabbed around his neck by a player and ripped away from the altercation. After the events settled down Joy and Lopez were shown cards for their parts in the melee. Lopez received a red card and will miss the match against Baltimore.
The Portland Timbers now have 9 wins and 8 ties after playing 24 matches. The next match is Sunday, August 29th at 6:00 p.m. They will be up against Crystal Palace Baltimore who the Timbers have lost to twice already this season.
I got to speak after the match to Forward Bright Dike, Defender and Captain Ian Joy, and Head Coach Gavin Wilkinson about the tie and Bright Dike's goal. I also had the chance to speak to former Timbers player Leonard Griffin. He played the full 90 for the opposing team.
Here are some of the quotes:
"Ibad Muhamadu checked in on the near side and the ball went over him and past the defender." he continued, "I shouldered off the defender, took a touch past him, and then slipped it into the back corner."
"It was a disappointing game."
"We did not take advantage of the red card which took the pace out of the match." he added, "They were not even trying to win the game."
"When you have two of the better teams in the USL you are going to have to battle. That is what it was."
"We need to finish our chances and be focused for the full ninety."
"We have to give this crowd a couple wins," he said. "I appreciate the support. It is exciting to play in front of them."
"We should win these games. Unfortunetly we come out of the game tied 1-1 again."
"It was a typical Bright Dike goal. When you look at his strength and power it so hard to defend against. When that guy gets his full body and power behind his shot there is very few goalkeepers who can stop him."
"They were smart about how they played after going a man down. It is not very easy. When you play against ten men it is not very easy to break ten men down. They had one man who stuck up front and the rest were defending. They are smart footballers. When they get the ball they try to waste time and play for fouls."
"We have raised our game in the past few weeks, scored a couple goals, and put up a few points."
"Tonight was a little bit more personnal after reading some of the comments they have been saying." He continued, "Like how good they are and how much they were better than the rest of the league."
"We have fantastic players and have great quality." then continued by adding, "It has been a frustrating year for us."
"We have to get at Baltimore at the very first minute and try to win those three points."
"It was a ball he fought for and won. He brushed off the defender." he also mentioned that, "It was a tremoudous strike."
"He is an absolute beast and has a great future here."
Talking about the tie he said, "It was a win that escaped us.You can look for reasons and we will look in the mirror first."
"I expect more from the players."
"I have never seen so much time wasted and seen players spend so much time on the ground." adding to this he said, "For a keeper to try to chest the ball in the 6 yard box and then complain about the outcome is disappointing."
"I think it showed that we were desperate to win"
"Austin has done well all season and points per game are the best team in the league."
"In Austin we should have won and tonight we should have won."
"If that is the best team in the league I am really looking forward to the playoffs."
"I do not think they caused us to many problems in the 18 yard box."
"The goal they scored was tremoudous, it was a world class goal, take nothing away from that individual, I think it was brilliant."
"This was obviously a game I was looking forward to come play here."
"I knew the crowd was going to be great."
"For us the fact we could come out with a point especially after going down a man early in the second half was pretty satisfying . "
"It came out and bounced perfect for Sullivan and he smashed it in the far post. It was a great goal to equalize after Portland got one early. He hit it really well."
Shots: AUS 6 - PDX 13.
Saves: AUS 5 - PDX 0.
Corners: AUS 0 - PDX 2.
Fouls: AUS 15 - PDX 16.
AUS: Kieron Bernard, Yordany Alvarez, Miguel Gallardo-Aparicio, Michael Callahan.
PDX: Bright Dike, Ross Smith, Ian Joy.
AUS: Kieron Bernard; 56th minute.
PDX: Rodrigo Lopez ; 90th minute.