Timbers gain key win at Montreal, defeat league's top team 1-0

MONTREAL - Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar showed why he is the reigning USL First Division Player of the Week, serving his league-leading eighth assist of the season to Dan Antoniuk in the second half, as the Portland Timbers defeated the defending champion-Montreal Impact 1-0 Wednesday night at Claude-Robillard Sports Complex.

Alcaraz-Cuellar took a free kick from 25 yards out in the 73rd minute, sending a perfect cross to the far post, where Antoniuk headed in his sixth goal of the season and gave the Timbers (7-7-6, 27pts) all the offense they’d need to shut down the first-place Impact.

Montreal (12-2-5, 41pts) has conceded just 10 goals this year and five at home, as 9,278 watched the Impact drop the first match of the season on their home pitch.

The Timbers moved into sixth place with the win, which snapped the club’s four-game losing streak on the road and evens the season series between the two clubs, 1-1.

Josh Saunders came up big for the Timbers in the 79th minute, making two consecutive acrobatic saves on shots from Charles Gbeke to preserve the shutout victory. The Portland goalkeeper finished with eight saves in the affair.

Gbeke caught the Timbers off guard in the 19th when he wound up for a bicycle kick that missed just high over the crossbar, keeping the match scoreless earlier in the first half.

Montreal out-shot Portland 14-5.

The Timbers conclude their two-game trip Saturday night in St. Paul, where they’ll take on the Minnesota Thunder at 5:05 p.m. (Pacific).

TIMBERS NOTES: The fifth-annual Oregon Youth Soccer Association Night takes place Aug. 20, when the Timbers take on the Seattle Sounders … the match also marks the Timbers’ 30th Anniversary Celebration … discounted tickets for the match are available at the OYSA office for OYSA members … the Timbers will be without Gavin Wilkinson (yellow card suspension), Tom Poltl (family commitment), Jarrod Weis (MCL injury), Scott Benedetti (neck injury) and Scot Thompson (Sunderland tryout) for Saturday’s match at Minnesota.

SCORING SUMMARY: Antoniuk, 73’ (Alcaraz-Cuellar).

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY: POR Alvarez, YC (55’); MON Vincello, YC (68’).

LINEUPS: PORTLAND (7-7-6) Saunders GK, Goldthwaite D, Thompson D, Wilkinson D, Marcum D, Poltl M, Miranda M, Alcaraz-Cuellar M, Winters M, Alvarez F (Conway 65’), Antoniuk F (Lines 85’); MONTREAL (12-2-5) Sutton GK, Gervais D (Braz 50’), Pizzolitto D, DiTullio D (Kolic 76’), Vincello D, Leduc M (Garcia 86’), Lyssand M (Mert 76’), Fukasawa M, Diplacido M (Ribeiro 59’), Biello F, Gbeke F.