- The Portland Timbers surrendered a two-goal advantage and settled for a 3-3 draw with the Minnesota Thunder Friday night at PGE Park.
Byron Alvarez opened the scoring, while Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar and Scot Thompson each collected a goal and an assist in the match, marking the first time since the season opener the Timbers (5-7-6, 21pts) tallied three goals in a game.
The draw is the third of the season between the Thunder (5-8-7, 22pts) and Timbers, who are neck-and-neck in the crowded race for the postseason.
Alvarez hit for his team-leading sixth goal of the season in the 21st minute on a corner kick play when Alcaraz-Cuellar took the corner and tapped it out to Edwin Miranda. Miranda worked his way up the touchline and sent a low ball through to Thompson in the box, who instead of putting the shot on goal, optioned to Alvarez for the strike.
On Alcaraz-Cuellar’s ensuing corner in the 32nd, it was Thompson that would capitalize, spinning the ball off his head and into the back of the net for his third goal of the season.
The celebration did not last long, as the Thunder counter-attack just seconds later sliced the Timbers’ lead in half on a wide-open goal from midfielder Godfrey Tenoff.
Minnesota erased the Timbers’ two-goal lead in the 44th when Melvin Tarley tallied from the far side at close range, chipping a shot that trickled over the goal line to even the score 2-2 at halftime.
Jay Alberts provided the go-ahead goal for the Thunder, unleashing on an attempt from 35 yards out that sailed over the head of Portland goalkeeper Josh Saunders in the 53rd minute, but the Timbers would apply the pressure and equalize ten minutes later when Alcaraz-Cuellar drilled a rebound off Minnesota goalkeeper Joe Warren into the untended net, tying the game 3-3.
The Timbers battle the rival Seattle Sounders this Sunday, Aug. 7, at PGE Park. Kickoff is 5 p.m.
Friday’s match was televised nationally on Fox Soccer Channel … Sunday’s game will be televised on Comcast CNW 14 in the Portland area … Sunday is Comcast Latino Night at PGE Park … forward Paul Conway came on in the second half after a groin injury sidelined him for more than a month … Portland out-shot Minnesota, 14-8 … defender Kevin Goldthwaite made his first start for the Timbers after coming on loan from the San Jose Earthquakes last week.
Alvarez, 21’ (Thompson); Thompson, 32’ (Alcaraz-Cuellar); Tenoff, 33’ (Tarley); Tarley, 44’ (Knox); Alberts, 53’ (Menyongar); Alcaraz-Cuellar, 63’ (UA).
MIN T. Dombrowski, YC (84’); POR Goldthwaite, YC (59’), Weis, YC (80’), Wilkinson, YC (83’), Poltl, YC (90’).
MINNESOTA (5-8-7) Warren GK, Brunt D, Knox D, Wilson D, T. Dombrowski M, Friedland M (C. Dombrowski 64’), Alberts M, Tenoff M (Kilickan 64’), Menyongar F, Tarley F (Paye 78’); PORTLAND (5-7-6) Saunders GK, Goldthwaite D, Thompson D, Morrison D (Wilkinson 66’), Marcum D, Poltl M, Miranda M, Alcaraz-Cuellar M, Weis M (Winters 90’), Alvarez F, Antoniuk F (Conway 66’).
Three goals can't buy win as Timbers draw Minnesota