Timbers rattle Thunder, win 5-1 at PGE Park

PORTLAND, Ore. – Forward George Josten and defender David Hayes each recorded a goal and an assist to lead the Portland Timbers to a 5-1 win over the Minnesota Thunder before 8,111 at PGE Park on Friday.

Josten logged his goal and assist in the first half to help the Timbers build a 2-1 lead at halftime. Hayes then guided the Timbers to a three-goal outburst in the second half to secure the win and a new Timbers modern-franchise record with an 11-game unbeaten streak.

Forward Takayuki Suzuki and defender Scot Thompson each scored their first goals of the season, while forward Mandjou Keita tacked on his fourth to help the Timbers (6-1-5, 23pts) move into second place in the USL First Division.

Midfielder Ricardo Sanchez scored for the Thunder (1-6-4, 7pts), who had three players sent off in the second half and saw a three-game winning streak come to an end.

The Timbers jumped on the board first with an early goal by Josten. Midfielder Brian Farber out-worked a Minnesota defender to a 50-50 ball that rolled back into the Thunder penalty area. Farber gained possession, slipped around his marker and found Josten on his way through the box. On his first touch, Josten poked the ball inside the back post to give Portland a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.

Minnesota forward Rod Dychenko had a chance to level the score in the 13th minute as his 20-yard blast from 20 yards out got past Cronin, it but rattled off the left post and the ball bounced back into play.

In the 32nd minute, it was Josten who set up the Timbers second strike of the night. From midfield, Josten pushed the ball up field and attracted the Thunder backline, which left Suzuki wide open down the left side. Josten snuck a pass out wide for Suzuki, who unleashed a low drive from 20 yards out inside the right post to double Portland’s lead 2-0.

The Thunder were able to pull one back in the 38th minute on long-range goal from Sanchez. A foul committed by Timbers defender Stephen Keel set up a free kick roughly 30 yards out for Sanchez along the right post. Sanchez curled a ball around the Timbers wall and stuck it inside the near post to trim the Timbers’ lead 2-1.

Portland took control of the match in the second half, holding the Thunder to just three shots, on its way to out-shooting Minnesota 22-13. The Timbers pressure on goal led to a three-goal performance in the final stanza capped by Thompson’s header in the 90th minute.

Hayes opened the scoring in the second half following a foul in the box by Minnesota defender Julius James on Keita. After some discussion, midfielder Jonathan Greenfield was booked with a caution and James was sent off by referee Maurizo Laudani. Hayes then stepped up and slotted in his first strike of the season from the spot in the 64th minute, giving the Timbers a 3-1 lead.

The match turned physical as the second half settled in, and the Thunder saw defender Andres Arango issued a red card following a challenge with Portland midfielder Alex Nimo in the 86th minute.

With a two-man advantage late in the match, the Timbers’ momentum led to two more goals in the closing minutes of regulation. Hayes whipped a ball into the center of the box for Keita, who headed it in from close range to extend the home side’s lead to three goals. Then in stoppage time, second-half sub Josh Cameron delivered a corner kick from the right side that connected with Thompson inside the six-yard box to earn his first-career assist and put the final stamp on the Timbers’ 5-1 win.

After a stretch of five games in 11 days, the Timbers have an eight day break until their next match on Sunday, June 28 as they play host to the Montreal Impact at PGE Park at 5 p.m., as part of a doubleheader; the Timbers U-23s entertain the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency at 1 p.m. Tickets for both games are available the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Notes: Thunder forward Melvin Tarley was sent off in stoppage time following the final Timbers goal … Keita now leads the team in scoring with nine points on four goals and one assist … Timbers midfielder Brian Farber collected his team-leading third assist of the season aiding on Josten’s goal … The five-goal performance Friday was the Timbers largest goal output of the season.

POR: GK Cronin, D Hayes (Cameron, 89), D Keel (Danso, 45), D Knowles, D Thompson, M Suzuki (Nimo, 82), M Claesson (Poltl, 87), M Savage, M Farber, F Josten (McLaughlin, 76), F Keita

MIN: GK Platter, D Kallman (Arango, 43), D Clements, D James, D Peterson, M Bass, M Greenfield, M Sanchez (Weiler, 89), F Dyachenko (Kante, 87), F Cvilikas (Tarley, 79), F St. Preux (Myers, 87)