Timbers defeat Sounders with trio of goals

PORTLAND, Ore. - Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar scored a goal and tallied an assist, and the Portland Timbers defeated the Seattle Sounders 3-1 in front of 6,149 Saturday night at PGE Park.

Alejandro Gutierrez and Mamba Chisoni also scored for the Timbers, who haven’t lost in the last four matches, going 3-0-1 in that span. The win also moved Portland into a tie for second place in the USL First Division.

The Timbers (4-4-2, 14pts) took the early lead in the 14th minute when defender Mike Randolph got the ball on the left flank. Randolph brought the ball up the wing, feigned a cross, then beat his defender before sending the ball into the penalty area. Gutierrez chested the ball down and blazed a shot from 10 yards past diving Sounders goalkeeper Chris Eylander to give the Timbers a 1-0 lead.

Seattle (2-3-3, 9pts) evened the score in the 32nd minute after Seyi Abolaji put a cross into the Timbers penalty area. The ball found Zach Scott, whose header sailed into the top corner of the net to knot the score at 1-1.

Portland responded right away with a strike from Chisoni in the 33rd minute. Alcaraz-Cuellar sent a ball across the Seattle penalty area, where Chisoni was waiting to bury the ball from 15 yards and put the Timbers up 2-1.

The Timbers closed the scoring in the 87th minute when Alcaraz-Cuellar sent a pass from near midfield to the right side where a streaking Byron Alvarez took the ball in-stride. Alvarez sailed a cross back to an on-rushing Alcaraz-Cuellar, who used his momentum to knock a header straight into the back of the net for the 3-1 win.

Seattle had an early opportunity to even the scoreline when, in the 16th minute, midfielder C.J. Klaas got the ball in a dangerous area. He brought the ball forward and launched a hard shot from the edge of the area, but the ball sailed into the waiting arms of Timbers goalkeeper Josh Saunders.

The Timbers return to action at on Saturday, June 10 when the Vancouver Whitecaps visit PGE Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“Tonight was a performance I’m very proud of. All the players, everyone in this franchise, from top to bottom, I couldn’t be more proud of. In terms of everything coming together at the right time, this was the best match of the season. The result puts us at the top of the table, and I certainly think that’s a sign of things to come.”

“The whole group is gelling as a team, and we’re fighting for each other, and that’s something very positive. Next week we get a chance to face Vancouver again, a team that we’ve played very well against, and I think we’re in a very good position to get something positive out of that match next Saturday.”

NOTES: Tonight was Oregon Youth Soccer Foundation night, with special tournaments being featured at halftime and a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales going towards the OYSF … Seattle goalkeeper Chris Eylander had a three-game shutout, totaling more than 285 minutes, ended with Gutierrez’s strike in the 14th minute … Saturday’s attendance was a season high for the Timbers.

SCORING SUMMARY: Gutierrez 14’ (Randolph), Chisoni 33’ (Alcaraz-Cuellar), Alcaraz-Cuellar 87’ (Alvarez); SEA: Scott 32’ (Abolaji).

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY: POR: Gutierrez YC (67’); SEA: Sakuda YC (26’), Scott YC (29’), Gregor YC (64’), Jackson YC (88’).

LINEUPS: SEATTLE (2-3-3) C. Eylander GK, O. Abolaji D, D. Jackson D, J. Besagno D, Z. Scott D (S. Rivera 66’), G. Sturm M (Tomlinson 62’), K. Sakuda M (Boyden 89’), A. Gregor M, C. Klaas M (Sutton 76’), R. Levesque F, C. Weaver F.
PORTLAND (4-4-2) J. Saunders GK, S. Thompson D, J. Goodfellow D, J. Brown D, M. Randolph D, L. Kreamalmeyer M, H. Alcaraz-Cuellar M, M. Chisoni M (Potl 84’), L. Morrison M, B. Alvarez F, A. Gutierrez F (McAthy 68’).