Timbers stump Milwaukee with early goals

MILWAUKEE – The Portland Timbers got all the offense they needed in the first ten minutes of play on goals by Byron Alvarez and Alex Bengard, shutting out the Milwaukee Wave United 2-0 on Saturday night at Uihlein Park.

The Timbers (13-7-0, 39pts) move into a tie with Vancouver for first place in the Western Conference while winning three of their last four contests, including three-straight on the road.

With the loss, the Wave United (8-9-3, 27pts) missed a chance to move past Seattle for the fourth spot in the conference.

Portland goalkeeper Josh Saunders registered his second-consecutive shutout and fifth of the 2004 campaign.

The Timbers jumped on the board early when Bengard made a run down the left side and optioned to Dan Antoniuk, who left it for Alvarez to dial in a goal from the top of the 18-yard box, making it 1-0 in the fifth minute.

The strike was Alvarez’ 10th of the season.

Bengard tacked on a goal in the ninth minute, drilling a 20-yard attempt into the right side of the net past a diving Jim Larkin. Antoniuk notched his second assist of the evening on the play.

Milwaukee went a man down in the 55th minute when Antoniuk beat Milwaukee goalkeeper Jim Larkin, who under-cut him to prevent the certain goal, prompting an automatic red card ejection. The Wave United elected to remove forward Jamar Beasley from of the game as punishment.

The Timbers had several opportunities to widen their lead late in the match, but came up short against substitute goalkeeper Jeff Richey.

The Wave United’s Joe Hammes had a chance to score in the seventh minute, but his header missed wide of its target.

Saunders turned away a charge by Milwaukee in the 41st, diving to make a right-handed save on a shot by Nick Walls.

The Timbers return home to PGE Park on Thursday, August 5th to face the Minnesota Thunder. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

TIMBERS NOTES: The Timbers finished the month of July 5-3-0 … Milwaukee-area native David Henning made his first start at midfield on Saturday … Milwaukee lost only one game in their previous 10 contests before Saturday’s defeat … Thursday’s match against Minnesota will be televised live on Comcast Cable Channel 14 in the Portland-metro area … Portland now leads the season series with Milwaukee 2-1 … Alvarez’ 10 goals this season is good for fourth-most in the A-League … Western Conference-rival Minnesota lost 3-0 to Syracuse on Saturday.

SCORING SUMMARY: Alvarez, 5’ (Antoniuk); Bengard, 9’ (Antoniuk).

PENALTY SUMMARY: POR Alvarez, YC (66’); MIL Larkin, RC (55’), Torres, YC (73’).

LINEUPS: PORTLAND (13-7-0) J. Saunders GK, Morrison D, Thompson D, S. Saunders D, Winters M, Benedetti M, Bengard M, Miranda M (Alcaraz-Cuellar), Henning M, Antoniuk F (Gordon), Alvarez F (Afash); MILWAUKEE (8-9-3) Larkin GK (Richey), Dombrowski D, Lawrence D, Troy Dusosky D (Burk), Kante M, Schmidt M, Hammes M (Fontana), Marcantonio M, Torres M, Beasley F, Walls F.