Timbers exercise contract options on Alcaraz-Cuellar, three others

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers have exercised the contract options of Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Edwin Miranda, David Henning and Memo Arzate for the 2005 season, it was announced Friday.

“Hugo proved again this past season what an outstanding player he is and just how vital he is to the Timbers’ continued success,” said Jim Taylor, Timbers general manager. “Edwin Miranda, Memo Arzate, and David Henning are up-and-coming players in this league and I expect all three to make a significant contribution in 2005.”

Returning for a fourth season with Portland, midfielder Alcaraz-Cuellar, 27, factored heavily into the Timbers’ 18-win season in 2004, dishing a league-high 10 assists and adding five goals in 26 games. A three-time member of the A-League Team of the Week in 2004, Alcaraz-Cuellar was named to the league’s second team following the season.

Miranda, 23, played sparingly in the Timbers’ first 16 matches, but worked his way into the starting lineup as the season progressed, scoring the game-winning goal against Puerto Rico on Aug. 19. The Timbers posted a 9-2-3 record when Miranda started or played in a match.

Henning, the youngest Timber on the roster at 20, spread 757 minutes over 12 games in his first season on the Portland back line, collecting an assist in the first minute of the season against Seattle.

Midfielder Arzate was hampered by an injury in the early going and saw little playing time in his first professional campaign. Selected by the Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS in the third round (22nd overall) of the 2004 MLS SuperDraft, Arzate, 23, appeared in three games with the Timbers.

The four players join striker Byron Alvarez and defender Gavin Wilkinson as Timbers signed for the 2005 season.