Gordon, Alvarez light up Edmonton as Timbers roll

PORTLAND, Ore. – Alan Gordon scored his second hat trick of the season and Byron Alvarez added two goals of his own as the Portland Timbers exploded for five goals in the second half to defeat the Edmonton Aviators 6-1 before 4,230 on Thursday night at PGE Park.

The Timbers (9-5-0, 27pts) vaulted themselves into first place in the Western Conference with the win while putting the breaks on a three-game losing streak on their home turf.

Edmonton (2-6-6, 12pts) has fast become the Timbers’ favorite opponent this season, with Portland outscoring the Aviators 12-1 over two meetings between the clubs.

The win also gives the Timbers some momentum heading into Wednesday’s fourth round U.S. Open Cup meeting with MLS defending champion-San Jose at PGE Park.

The Timbers got the ball rolling early in the match when Alex Bengard let loose on a shot in the 11th minute that ricocheted off the crossbar and into the path of Gordon, who played the ball off his head and into the net for the 1-0 lead.

Edmonton pulled back a goal in the 17th, when Sean Fraser beat the Portland defense and snuck a shot past the left side of Portland goalkeeper Josh Saunders.

Gordon dialed in his second goal of the contest in the 40th, taking a dish from Andrew Gregor and drilling it in from 10 yards out to give the Timbers a 2-1 advantage in the 49th minute.

Gregor and Gordon hooked up again in the 60th when Gregor snuck by two defenders and shifted the ball left to Gordon, who punched in his third goal of the evening for his league-leading 14th goal of the year.

Alvarez subbed into the match in the 71st minute and made the Aviators pay within seconds of entering the pitch, pushing the Timbers lead to 4-1 with a rocket from inside 20 yards.

The Timbers didn’t let up with a three-goal advantage, as Dan Antoniuk found the net in the 77th and Alvarez tallied his second goal in the 88th, taking a pass from Antoniuk for the easy header.

Next up for the Timbers is a return to U.S. Open Cup play, as they play host to the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday, July 14 at 7 p.m.

TIMBERS NOTES: Tickets for the San Jose match are available for purchase at the PGE Park box office as well as Portland-area Ticketmaster outlets … individual tickets may be purchased by phone at (503) 224-4400 or online at www.ticketmaster.com … for group tickets, call (503) 553-5555 … for more information about the U.S. Open Cup, log on to www.usopencup.com … Aaron Heinzen left the match in the 71st minute with a right-ankle sprain … Byron Alvarez has now scored 13 points on five goals and three assists in two games against Edmonton this season.

SCORING SUMMARY: Gordon, 11’ (Bengard); Fraser, 17’ (UA); Gordon, 49’ (Gregor); Gordon, 60’ (Gregor); Alvarez, 72’ (UA); Antoniuk, 77’ (Alvarez); Alvarez, 88’ (Antoniuk).

PENALTY SUMMARY: EDM Lemire, YC (68’).

LINEUPS: EDMONTON (2-6-6) Stankov GK, de Silva D, Devlin D, Ebo D, Kaushal M, Dhaliwal M, Chin M, Vignjevic M (Drummond 53’), Fraser M, Lemire F, Sibiya F (Handsor 63’); PORTLAND (9-5-0) J. Saunders GK, Morrison D, Wilkinson D, S. Saunders D, Winters D, Heinzen M (Alvarez 72’), Alcaraz-Cuellar M, Bengard M, Gregor M (Miranda 82’), Sagare F, Gordon F (Antoniuk 73’).