Timbers hang on for draw with Vancouver

PORTLAND, Ore. - Byron Alvarez scored his fourth goal of the season and the Portland Timbers managed to work through a man-down situation to settle for a 1-1 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday night at PGE Park.

The Timbers (5-5-4, 19pts) took an early lead on Alvarez’ strike and were forced to play a man short for the majority of the match when midfielder Tom Poltl drew a red card in the 23rd minute as the result of a cleats-up slide.

Jason Jordan struck for Vancouver’s only goal in the 37th minute, and neither team was able to convert in the second half.

The Timbers drew first blood in the seventh minute. From 35 yards, midfielder Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar fed a through ball into the box for forward Dan Antoniuk, who corralled it and set up Alvarez for a near-post finish.

The Timbers nearly doubled their tally in the 13th minute when Antoniuk found himself unmarked in front of the goal, but he failed to get his rolling shot on target.

By the time Poltl was sent off midway through the first half, the momentum shifted as the Whitecaps (6-3-5, 23pts) went on the attack.

Vancouver nearly tied the contest in the 35th when midfielder Martin Nash broke free on the wing and fed a cross to forward Ian Fuller, whose header was kick-saved by goalkeeper Josh Saunders. Jordan put his rebound header over the bar.

However, two minutes later, Jordan got it right when he put a low cross from Nash by Saunders for the equalizer. The goal was Jordan’s ninth in 14 matches this season.

Despite their one-player disadvantage, the Timbers did well to dictate the pace for much of the second half, forcing Vancouver goalkeeper Josh Wicks to make three saves.

The Timbers next face the Seattle Sounders on the road on Friday, July 8 at 8 p.m. The match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel.

TIMBERS NOTES: The Timbers match up against the Seattle Sounders in a third-round U.S. Open Cup match at PGE Park on July 12. Tickets for the match may be purchased at the PGE Park box office or at area Ticketmaster outlets … the winner will face the San Jose Earthquakes of MLS in the fourth round … Portland assistant coach Jim Brazeau was ejected for holding up play and arguing shortly after Poltl’s red card in the first half.

SCORING SUMMARY: Alvarez 7’ (Antoniuk), Jordan 37’ (Nash)

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY: VAN (None); POR Poltl (RC) 23’, POR Bench (RC) 28’, Wilkinson (YC) 47’, Morrison (YC) 74’

LINEUPS: VANCOUVER (6-4-3) Wicks GK, Watson D (Franks 65’), Kindel D, Lyall D (Harmse 40’), de Silva D, Clarke M, Dasovic M, Nash M (Gjertsen 68’), Morris M (Valente 58’), Fuller F (Klein 72’), Jordan F; PORTLAND (5-5-3) Saunders GK, Miranda D, Thompson D, Morrison D, Alcaraz-Cuellar M, Lines M, Higgins M, Poltl M, Conway M (Winters 55’), Alvarez F (Wilkinson 45’), Antoniuk F.