Timbers draw Whitecaps in home opener

PORTLAND, Ore. – Chad Bartlomé scored a goal in his debut and Josh Saunders made several key saves to lead the Portland Timbers to a 1-1 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps in front of 5,448 Saturday night at PGE Park.

Bartlomé, who officially joined the team earlier in the afternoon, put the Timbers ahead in the 21st minute when midfielder Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar brought the ball into the center of the field and launched a blistering shot from the edge of the area. The ball took a deflection off of a Whitecaps defender and keeper Josh Wicks was only able to parry the ball, which fell to the path of on-rushing Bartlomé, who buried the shot in the back of the net.

Vancouver leveled the score in the 53rd minute when a cross in from Martin Nash found midfielder Tony Donatelli on the edge of the area, who controlled the ball and sent a hard shot past the diving Saunders and into the net.

Bartlomé also saw a header just miss over the bar on a cross from midfielder Alcaraz-Cuellar.

Alcaraz-Cuellar gave the Timbers another great feed just a moment later, with striker Byron Alvarez latching onto the free kick but heading it just wide of the target.

Luke Kreamalmeyer almost sealed the victory for the Timbers when he unleashed a searing shot in the 72nd minute when he brought the ball up the field and launched a ball from 25 yards out straight into the arms of Wicks.

The Timbers continue their opening weekend by hosting the Minnesota Thunder on Saturday at 7 p.m. at PGE Park.

”I felt like we were in a good situation in the first half; we like to get that first goal. I’m very proud of our performance. Their goal was smashed into the upper corner and there wasn’t much we could do about it; I can’t fault our players. Tonight we’ll review our performance and make the appropriate changes so we’re ready for tomorrow’s game.”

TIMBERS NOTES: To celebrate opening weekend and Cinco de Mayo, the Timbers featured half-time entertainment from the March 4 Marching Band … Timber Jim was presented a check by the Timbers Army for his granddaughter’s scholarship fund … Bartlomé’s first-half goal was the first scored against the Whitecaps this season.

SCORING SUMMARY: POR Bartlomé 21’ (Alcaraz-Cuellar), VAN Donatelli 53’ (Nash)

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY: POR Nsien YC (26’), Morrison YC (49’), Alvarez (62’); VAN Lyall YC (12’)

LINEUPS: VANCOUVER (2-0-1) J. Wicks GK, S. Klein D, A. Cann D, S. Kindel D, G. Lyall D, J. Clarke M, M. Nash M (Alberts 78’), T. Donatelli M, D. Morris M (Valente 45’) (Noreiga, 90’), J. Gjertsen F (Sebrango 59’), J. Jordan F (Matondo 73’).
PORTLAND (0-1-1) J. Saunders GK, J. Goodfellow D, S. Thompson D, L. Morrison D, M. Nsien D, M. Randolph D, H. Alcaraz-Cuellar M (Ready 58’), A. Gutierrez M, L. Kreamalmeyer M, B. Alvarez F (O. Bullen, 70’), C. Bartlomé F.