Timbers take tough loss in Puerto Rico

BAYAMON, P.R. – Joshua Norkum scored in the second and 22nd minutes and Alejandro Gonzalez added a goal in the 14th minute as the Puerto Rico Islanders beat the Portland Timbers 3-1 Sunday afternoon at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium.

Puerto Rico (2-2-1, 7pts) took the early lead in the second minute when a cross from the right flank was sent into the Timbers penalty box. Portland’s defense was only able to get a slight touch on the ball, and Islanders striker Joshua Norkum was able to bury it past goalkeeper Josh Saunders for the 1-0 advantage.

The Islanders doubled their advantage in the 14th minute, when the Timbers defense cleared a free kick from out of the penalty area. The ball fell to Islanders defender Alejandro Gonzalez, and his blistering shot from 30 yards out sailed past Saunders.

Norkus got his second goal of the first half on 22 minutes when a cross came in from the left flank and found Norkus one-on-one with Timbers defender Jacobi Goodfellow. Norkus got past Goodfellow and launched a shot from close to the penalty spot, which took a slight deflection before settling in the back of the net and securing a three-goal lead.

Byron Alvarez got a goal back for the Timbers (1-3-1, 4pts) in the 67th minute when he got on the end of a ball from Edwin Miranda. Alvarez beat the Puerto Rico defense and then sent Islanders goalkeeper Dan Kennedy the wrong way before launching the ball into the top corner.

Portland had a chance to cut into the lead in the 54th minute on a corner taken by Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar. His in-swinging cross was cleared only to the edge of the Puerto Rico penalty area, where Edwin Miranda was able to latch onto the ball and unleash a shot. The ball took a deflection off of a Puerto Rico defender and hit the crossbar before being cleared out to midfield.

“We came out sluggish because we’re on a very difficult road trip. We put a lot into that first game and we’re struggling. On the positive side, I thought Hugo (Alcaraz-Cuellar) played a brilliant game. It was also great to see Byron (Alvarez) come on and play well and score the goal. Unfortunately, we just didn’t get the win. In the first half we didn’t play hard enough, but in the second half we picked up some energy and had some good chances, including the goal.”

“We’ve given up too many goals lately, though, and we may need to reconsider who we have playing in defense. I’ve already been on the phone to several MLS clubs about some players and I’m pretty positive we’ll be seeing some changes here in the next week or so.”

NOTES: Timbers defender Scot Thompson did not participate in the game due to a level-two concussion suffered in Friday’s game against Miami … Lee Morrison assumed the captain’s armband in Thompson’s absence … the field was hit with a heavy rain only an hour before kick-off, making for wet field conditions … striker Mamba Chisoni and midfielder Alejandro Gutierrez were unable to participate in the match due to visa issues.

SCORING SUMMARY: POR: Alvarez 67’ (UA); PR: Norkus 2’ (Oehlman), Gonzalez 14’ (UA), Norkus 22’ (UA).

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY: POR: Brown YC (38’), Nsien YC (56’), Morrison YC (60’); PR: Norkus YC (3’), Segovia YC (26’), Velez YC (37’).

LINEUPS: PUERTO RICO (2-2-1) D. Kennedy GK, T. Queeley D, M. Velez D, M. Segovia D, A. Gonzalez D, N. Delgado M, K. Valdebarito M, G. Barros M, M. Oehlman M (Ortiz 73’), A. Norambueno F (Lopuski 90’), J. Norkus F.
PORTLAND (1-3-1) J. Saunders GK, J. Goodfellow D (Marcum 45’), J. Brown D (Ready 72’), M. Nsien D (Bullen 64’), M. Randolph D, L. Morrison M, H. Alcaraz-Cuellar M, L. Kreamalmeyer M, E. Miranda M, D. McAthy F, C. Bartlomé F (Alvarez 23’).