PORTLAND, Ore. - A pair of goals, including a penalty kick, by forward Alex Afonso led the Miami FC Blues to a 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers Monday afternoon at PGE Park. The physical contest saw forward Takayuki Suzuki ejected in the 45 minute forcing the Timbers to play a man down for the second half.
Monday's match marked the first time since the end of the 2006 season that the Timbers (3-2-4, 13pts) have lost consecutive matches, and the third straight match they've been held without a goal. Miami (2-6-2, 7pts) snaps a six-game winless streak with their second win in three matches at PGE Park.
The match turned extremely physical just before halftime, and Miami FC was awarded a penalty kick as midfielder Shaun Higgins was called for a foul while challenging Blues midfielder Sean Fraser inside the box. Referee Tyler Ploger wasted little time issuing a penalty kick opportunity, and Afonso converted the attempt in the 43rd minute for a 1-0 advantage.
Following the penalty kick goal by Miami FC, Suzuki and Blues midfielder Eric Vasquez were both issued yellow cards after an altercation at the midfield circle. A minute later, Suzuki was issued his second caution of match on a challenge near the sideline forcing the home side to play a man down for the final 45 minutes of the match.
Afonso gave the Blues a 2-0 lead in the 68th minute on a pass from Vasquez near the top of the box. After two touches down the top of the area, Afonso blasted a low drive inside the right post just past the out-stretched fingers of Timbers goalkeeper Ray Burse.
The Timbers had their chances throughout the match. In the first half, midfielder Andrew Gregor delivered two pin-point passes into the box for forward Chris Brown, but his attempts went wide or stopped by Miami FC goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
Midfielder Miguel Guante had an opportunity to put the Timbers up early in the first half. A loose ball trickled around the box before it landed at the feet of Guante. He turned and fired but Saunders snuffed the shot as he dropped to his knees for one his four saves on the day.
New Timbers forward Benjamin Totori made his debut against Miami FC on Monday entering the game at the start of the second half adding life to a 10-man Timbers side. In the 60th minute, Totori unleashed one of his three shots on the day from the top of the box. He was able to turn his defender to create space for a one-on-one attempt with Saunders. As Totori took the shot, Saunders charged to the penalty spot and knocked down the Solomon Islander's shot at the right post.
Late in the match, Higgins and Burse thwarted a three-on-two attempt by Miami looking to take a three-goal lead in the 83rd minute. Higgins forced a Miami player to play the ball inside to Juan Pablo Galavis running at the left post. Burse left his line to challenge Galavis and was able to get a piece of the ball to knock it out of play.
In the 38th minute, Timbers head coach Gavin Wilkinson was sent off by Ploeger following a display of frustration on the sidelines. Assistant coach Rod Underwood assumed command of the Timbers’ sidelines for the remainder of the match. Both Suzuki and Wilkinson will serve a one-game, league-imposed suspension in Montreal for their ejections on Monday.
The Timbers embark on a two-game road trip this weekend as they face the Montreal Impact on Friday at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) live on Fox Soccer Channel and the Rochester Rhinos on June 1 at 3 p.m. (Pacific). Both matches can be heard live on www.portlandtimbers.com; with a live video webcast available through USL Live at www.usllive.com/portland.
Notes: Monday marked the first time the Timbers had allowed two goals at home since May 11, 2007, in a 2-2 draw against the Seattle Sounders – a span of 14 matches ... Midfielder Tom Poltl made his first start Monday since May 10 ... Miami FC's roster included two former Timbers in Saunders and Sam Reynolds.
POR: GK Burse, D S. Thompson, D J. Thompson, D Griffin, D Knowles, M Poltl (Bagley, 80), M Guante (Olum 71), M Higgins (Dombrowski, 88), M Gregor, F Brown (Totori, 45), F Suzuki
MIA: GK Saunders, D Williams, D Dias, D John, D Ramirez (Calix, 89), M Cameron (Goldberg, 77), M Pulido (Gutierrez, 68), M da Mata, Mvasquez, F Fraser (Galavis, 82), F Afonso (Barrett, 87)
MIA: Afonso (PK), 43
MIA: Afonso (Vasquez), 68