Miami converts penalty, blanks Timbers

PORTLAND, Ore. – Fabian Sandoval converted a penalty kick in the 41st minute to lead Miami FC to a 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers in front of 6,116 Sunday night at PGE Park.

With the win, Miami (5-4-5, 20pts) moves into a tie with the Timbers (5-6-5, 20pts) for fifth place in the USL First Division, while Miami has played two fewer games this season.

The Timbers, who have not scored in their last three matches, have now lost two straight games after going unbeaten over the previous eight contests.

The two teams were playing square until Timbers defender Salim Bullen took down a Miami player on the edge of the area. Referee Colin Arblaster wasted no time pointing to the penalty spot, and Sandoval froze goalkeeper Josh Saunders in his tracks and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom-left corner for the 1-0 advantage.

Miami had a chance to double the score in the 76th minute when Yaikel Perez got on the end of a cross on the edge of the penalty area. Perez controlled the ball in the air and shot on the volley, but his effort skimmed past the far post and out for a goal kick.

The Timbers threatened in the 72nd minute when Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar took a free kick from 25 yards out. Alcaraz-Cuellar swung the ball into the box, and Scot Thompson got a head to it, but the ball sailed just over the bar and out of play.

The Timbers return to action at PGE Park on Saturday for a special exhibition match against Coventry City of England’s Coca-Cola Championship league. The match, which kicks off at 7 p.m., is the second time in as many seasons that a team from one of the top leagues in England has squared off against the Timbers at PGE Park. Last season’s exhibition against Sunderland AFC drew more than 15,000 fans. For tickets, visit any local Ticketmaster outlet, or buy online at www.pgepark.com or www.ticketmaster.com. For group tickets, call the PGE Park box office at (503) 553-5555.

ASSISTANT COACH JOHN GALAS ON THE MATCH:
”The players are disappointed, we’re all disappointed. After going up to Vancouver and not getting the result there, we were frustrated to not get the chances we needed to score tonight. We’re having a bit of a bad patch right now, but we just talked to the boys and their heads are up enough to keep things going. It’s a long season, we’re a bit banged up, and we’re asking a lot of them, but we have a lot of games to go.”

NOTES: Midfielder Alejandro Gutierrez made his first appearance since June 10 vs. Vancouver … tonight’s match was televised live on Fox Sports Northwest … the Timbers were missing seven of their 22 roster players due to injury or personal leave … Portland has not scored a goal in 291 minutes.

SCORING SUMMARY: MIA: Sandoval 41’ (pen.).

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY: POR: Thompson YC (36’), Gutierrez YC (70’); MIA: Sandoval YC (50’), Lee YC (58’), Guillaume YC (65’), Koniver YC (71’), Gil YC (81’), Fraser YC (90’).

LINEUPS: MIAMI (5-4-5): C. Doyle GK, T. Lee D (Guillaume 60’), J. Ramos D, J. Rodrigues D, C. Koniver D (Handy 73’), S. Fraser M, J. Jean-Jacques M, F. Sandoval M, P. Power M, Y. Perez F (Ramirez 86’), L. Harrington F (Gil 63’).
PORTLAND (5-6-5): J. Saunders GK, S. Bullen D, L. Kreamalmeyer D, M. Randolph D, S. Thompson D, L. Morrison M, T. Poltl M, H. Alcaraz-Cuellar M, B. Alvarez M (Iniguez 61’), D. McAthy F, A. Gutierrez F.