Red cards fly as Timbers play Thunder to overtime draw

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar dialed in the game-tying goal and the Portland Timbers played the Minnesota Thunder to a 2-2 draw Saturday evening at James Griffin Stadium.

The Timbers (16-7-2, 50pts) ran their unbeaten streak to seven games while clinching the season series against the Thunder (11-8-4, 37pts), who have been outscored by Portland 6-2 over three matches.

Continuing their success on the road this season, the Timbers finished with a 9-3-2 record away from home and play their remaining three contests at PGE Park.

Byron Alvarez cashed in his 14th goal of the season when Alex Bengard teed up a corner kick in the 19th minute, finding Alvarez for a first-half strike from the back post.

The set play resulted from a shot by Alan Gordon, who had his attempt deflected over the end line by Minnesota goalkeeper Joe Warren, setting up the corner kick.

Gordon stole the ball in the 58th and had an open look at the net, but was tackled from behind in the box and no penalty was called, to the chagrin of the Portland bench.

Minutes later, Lee Morrison was sent off with a red card inside the opposite box and the Timbers were left to play a man down for the remainder of the match.

Minnesota was awarded a penalty kick, which Johnny Menyongar converted in the 63rd minute to even the contest at 1-1.

Melvin Tarley chipped the ball over the head of Portland goalkeeper Josh Saunders, seemingly putting the Timbers out of reach with a man down in the 71st.

Alcaraz-Cuellar would have nothing to do with the Minnesota comeback, sailing a free kick from the 18-yard line into the upper-left corner of the net to level the playing field in the 86th minute, sending the match into overtime.

Minnesota lost a man of its own when Timbers defender Scot Thompson got into the open and sprinted down the left side into a one-on-one situation, only to be taken down from behind by Brent Jacquette, who was dealt a red card on the play.

Edwin Miranda gave the Timbers a chance to win it in overtime, but Warren made the save on a booming shot.

Minnesota’s Davis Castellanos nearly claimed victory for the Thunder in overtime, punching a shot off the fingertips of Saunders.

The Timbers return to Portland for their three remaining regular-season contests, beginning Thursday, Aug. 19 against Puerto Rico. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

SCORING SUMMARY: Alvarez, 19’ (Bengard); Menyongar, 63’ (PK); Tarley, 71’ (Alberts); Alcaraz-Cuellar, 86’ (UA).

PENALTY SUMMARY: POR Wilkinson, YC (25’), Miranda, YC (45’), Morrison, RC (60’), Antoniuk, YC (108’); MIN Tenoff, YC (20’), Castellanos, YC (85’), Jacquette, RC (92’).

LINEUPS: PORTLAND (16-7-2) J. Saunders GK, Morrison D, Wilkinson D, Thompson D, Alcaraz-Cuellar M, Winters M, Bengard M (Benedetti 64’), Miranda M, Sagare M, Alvarez F (Afash 86’), Gordon F (Antoniuk 71’); MINNESOTA (11-8-4) Warren GK, Jacquette D, Branan D, Roberts D, Juarez M, Friedland M (Brunt 98’), Alberts M, Ferruzzi M (Matteo 45’), Tenoff, Menyongar F, Tarley F (Castellanos 79’).