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No scoring, but Timbers post ninth shutout

CHESTER, Pa. — The only strikes came in the form of real lightning Saturday as the Portland Timbers and Philadelphia Union played to a 0-0 draw at PPL Park.

Goalies Donovan Ricketts of Portland and Zac MacMath of Philly each made four saves.

"MacMath stood on his head a couple times. I thought he had a tremendous game," Portland coach Caleb Porter said. "And they had a few chances as well. There weren’t a ton of chances on the day, but I thought the goalkeepers made the saves they needed to.”

The Timbers have 10 ties in 20 matches this season, with eight victories and two defeats. Portland has earned a draw in eight of 11 road games.

The Timbers are second in the MLS Western Conference with 34 points, three behind Real Salt Lake, which has 37 in 21 outings. The Los Angeles Galaxy are third with 33 points in 21 games. Vancouver and FC Dallas have 32 points each, with Vancouver having played 20 games and Dallas 21. The top five make the playoffs. Colorado is sixth with 31 points in 22 games.

Philadelphia, fourth in the MLS Eastern Conference, is 8-6-7 overall.

"Philly’s a good team and there’s a reason why they have 30 points, and now 31. They’re a team that scores a lot of goals, and they do it by getting balls in the box. I’m happy that our guys were up for the challenge," Porter said. "It’s not an easy game, especially for our backs to deal with as many balls in the air as they did. It’s through the run of play, it’s on set pieces, it’s long throw-ins. They hope that you have a lapse, and we didn’t.

"Even at the end, when a lot of teams would have crumbled on those couple set pieces, because basically you’re one play away from losing the game, our guys were up for the challenge.

“There we some periods of play tonight that were as good as we’ve played all year. Once we got the ball down and got our combination play going, like I said, that first 15 minutes of the second half is as good as we’ve played all year. We’ve got to find the goal, I think that’s the only thing. It says a lot about our guys that we leave a game with a point on the road, and in some ways we’re not happy.”

Lightning delayed the game for nearly an hour. Each team had a few close-range chances, but nothing too much for the keepers. The shutout was the Timbers' ninth of the 2013 MLS season.

The Timbers had 59.5 percent of the possession. Each team had six corner kicks before the announced crowd of 18,740.

"In the end, it’s a point on the road. So, there’s nothing negative about it. We didn’t come here for a point, we came here for three points. But we knew we’d have a battle. Credit to Philly, I thought they fought us tooth-and-nail, and they were certainly up for it as well. In the end, it was probably fair.”

Portland's next match is Wednesday night at Jeld-Wen Field in an 8 p.m. exhibition against Norwich City FC.