Islanders capture 2-0 win over Timbers

PORTLAND, Ore. - First-half strikes by Fabrice Noel and Josh Hansen led the Puerto Rico Islanders to a 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers in front of 10,042 at PGE Park on Thursday. Acquired in a trade on Wednesday, new Timbers forward Jamil Walker made his Timbers debut against the Islanders.
The Timbers gained momentum after a slow start in the first half, and out-shot the Islanders 7-1 in the final period, including attempts by midfielder Lawrence Olum and Walker which nearly found their marks. Olum's shot was stopped with a leaping dive by Puerto Rico goalkeeper Bill Gaudette, while Walker had his shot rattle off the post.
Gaudette recorded three saves on the night and midfielder Jonathan Steele logged his league-leading fifth assist of the season to help the Islanders (6-5-3, 21pts) capture their fourth win in five matches and jump into a two-way tie for third place in the USL First Division with Portland (5-6-6, 21pts).
Puerto Rico took a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute on Noel's first goal of the season. Steele crossed a ball into the box from 22 yards out along the left sideline that found Noel 10 yards from goal along the right post. With time and space, Noel volleyed the ball back inside the far post past a quick diving effort from Portland goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
Hansen gave the Islanders a two-goal advantage during first-half stoppage time on a blistering shot from the top of the box. A throw in from the right touch line into the box was headed out by defender Nigel Henry to Hansen even with the right post. Hansen then unleashed a low shot inside the left post for a 2-0 lead.
Portland had its chances to pull even in the second half. In the 65th minute, defender Scot Thompson capped a long run down the right touch line with a cross into the box. At the back post, Olum skied over his defender and sent a header back at the near post. Gaudette made a leaping stop to steal a goal from the Timbers and keep his fourth shutout of the season in tact.
Walker, who joined the Timbers prior to Thursday's game in a trade with the Rochester Rhinos, lined up along the right post at the top of the box and fired a shot under pressure. His blast got past Gaudette, but deflected off the left post and rolled back into play.
In the final minute of the match Thompson got his head on a free kick from midfielder Chris Brown at the back post but his shot float just over the crossbar.
Making his Timbers regular-season debut, Knighton recorded two saves on eight shots faced, including a diving stop on a 25 yard free kick by Puerto Rico heading towards the right post.
The Timbers play host to top-level Mexican club U.A.N.L. Tigres in an international exhibition match on July 15 at PGE Park at 7 p.m. Tigres features several former Mexican National Team members and is the first team in Mexican soccer history to make two appearances in the coveted South American tournament Copa Libertadores. Tickets, starting at $15, are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at or by phone at (503) 224-4400.
Notes: Prior to kickoff, the Timbers honored the late John Gilbertson, an original founder of the Timbers North American Soccer League franchise and former team president, with a moment of silence. Gilbertson passed away in June ... Timbers are now 3-3-3 at home this season ... Thursday marked the Timbers first loss to the Islanders in six matches at PGE Park.
POR: GK Knighton, D J. Thompson (Karalexis, 45), D S. Thompson, D Knowles, D Griffin, M Dombrowski, M Guante, M Higgins, M Brown, F Bagley (Walker, 25)(Totori, 77), F Suzuki (Olum, 45)
PR: GK Gaudette, D Jones, D Henry, D Krause, D Arrieta, M N. Delgado, M Steele (Gbandi, 89), M Villegas (Marcelin, 73), M Miranda, F Hansen (Telesford, 85), F Noel (Jagdeosingh, 73)
Scoring Summary:
PR: Noel (Steele), 38
PR: Hansen (Henry), 45