Alvarez leads way in Timbers win over Tigres

PORTLAND, Ore. - Forward Byron Alvarez tallied a goal and an assist to help the Portland Timbers capture a 2-0 win over Mexican club U.A.N.L. Tigres in an international exhibition match at PGE Park before a spirited crowd of 8,375 on Tuesday.
 
The sounds of horns, chants and noise-makers filled the air as the two sides played an even first half once the game settled in, but the Timbers offense came alive in the second half as they out-shot Tigres 10-4 and used second-half strikes from Alvarez and defender Justin Thompson to seal the win.
 
Alvarez, the Timbers modern franchise leading scorer with 41 goals from 2003-06, suited up for the Timbers as a guest player for the exhibition against Tigres. In his first appearance with Portland since the 2006 season, he helped the Timbers net both goals within a two minute span.
 
Goalkeeper Brad Knighton logged five saves through 80 minutes of play to pick up his first win and shutout as a member of the Timbers.
 
Down by two goals, Tigres, who competes in Mexico's Primera Division, subbed in their international stars in forwards Francisco Fonseca and Panamanian National Team striker Blas Perez in the second half to add life to the Mexican side, but he Timbers backline and goalkeeping tandem of Knighton and Chase Harrison held strong for the clean sheet.
 
The Timbers took a 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute on a well-placed shot by Thompson. From the far left side of the penalty area, Alvarez made a quick move inside to shake his defender and then slipped Thompson a pass in the middle of the box. With time and space, Thompson shot the ball back inside the left post past a diving effort from Tigres goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera.
 
Minutes later, midfielder Tom Poltl cracked a shot from the top of the arc off the cross bar that came down inside the box and landed at the feet of Alvarez. About 12 yards out from goal, Alvarez rocketed a low shot into the back of the net to give the Timbers a 2-0 lead in the 54th minute.
 
Knighton recorded two of his five saves on sharp shots by Tigres in the first half to keep the visiting side off the board. In the 23rd minute, Tigres midfielder Maunel Viniegra blasted a shot from the right edge of the six yard box forcing Knighton to make a quick reaction save as he slid down his line toward the near post.
 
As the first half neared time, Tigres earned a free kick from 40 yards out in the middle of the field. Midfielder Guillermo Marino chipped his kick towards the left post where forward Julio Aguilar attempted to head in a shot. But Knighton was there to get a hand on the ball and keep it from finding the back of the net.
 
The Timbers round out the week with a two-game road trip to face the Atlanta Silverbacks on Friday at 4:55 p.m. (Pacific) and league-leading Charleston Battery on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific). Both matches can be heard live at www.portlandtimbers.com; with a live video webcast available through USL Live at www.usllive.com.
 
Notes: Harrison made his Timbers debut as a sub in the second half ... Timbers midfielder Miguel Guante is a distant relative of Tigres forward Blas Perez ... Portland is now 2-1-0 in international exhibition matches at PGE Park this season ... Timbers midfielder Bryan Little left the match after 10 minutes with a broken nose. He entered the match as a sub following hafltime.
 
Starting Lineups:
POR: GK Knighton (Harrison, 80), D Griffin (Little, 45)(Walker, 58), D Karalexis, D Knowles (J. Thompson, 45), D S. Thompson, M Higgins, M Poltl, M Dombrowski (Oka, 45), M Guante, F Alvarez (Totori, 80), F Olum (Brown, 69)
 
TIG: GK Talavera, D Jimenez (Saavedra, 89), D Chavez (D. Martinez, 67), D Rivas, D E. Martinez (Sanchez, 67), M Sancho (B. Perez, 56), M Marino (Fonseca, 56), M Viniegra (Cerda, 61), M Pulido (Ayala, 56), F De Leon, F Aguilar
 
Scoring Summary:
POR: J. Thompson (Alvarez), 52
POR: Alvarez, 54