Alvarez scores two as Timbers down Islanders

PORTLAND, Ore. - Byron Alvarez scored twice and Bayard Elfvin collected the shutout as the Portland Timbers beat the Puerto Rico Islanders 3-0 in front of 6,085 Friday night at PGE Park.

Alvarez’s goals were the first he has scored since May 27 at Minnesota.

Elfvin, who made his second consecutive start in goal, now has three shutouts in four league appearances for the Timbers this season.

The Timbers (7-12-6, 27pts) have now won two straight games and sit just two points out of playoff position in 10th place in the USL First Division.

Despite the loss, the Islanders (8-8-6 30pts), who have won only two of 11 games on the road, remain in fifth place in the league standings.

Portland took the early lead when Alvarez got the ball down the right wing. The forward brought the ball upfield and into the Puerto Rico penalty area, forcing goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to come off his line. Alvarez calmly slotted the ball between Kennedy’s legs and into the goal for the 1-0 lead.

Puerto Rico doubled the advantage for the Timbers when John Queeley directed a ball from Alvarez into his own net, putting Portland up 2-0.

The Islanders had a clear opportunity in the 36th minute on a free kick from 25 yards. Gustavo Barros-Schelotto sent the ball into the box, where it found Marco Velez waiting at the far post. Velez headed the ball past Elfvin, but he was ruled offside by the official and the goal was disallowed.

Puerto Rico had a chance when Elfvin took down Alen Marcina in the penalty area in the 55th minute and referee Fotis Bazakos wasted no time in pointing to the penalty spot. Barros-Schelotto stepped up and launched a shot, but Elfvin saved the kick with his left leg, preserving the shutout and pushing the ball out for a corner.

Alvarez got his second goal of the evening two minutes later when he received the ball at the edge of the penalty area from substitute Yuri Morales. Alvarez drew Kennedy away from the goal, then lofted the ball over Kennedy’s head before watching it cross the line to seal the 3-0 win.

The Timbers return to action when they host the league-leading Montreal Impact on August 31 at PGE Park. Kickoff for the match is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“I’m very happy with the performance. We’re getting a hundred percent from everyone on the field. A few weeks back we talked about putting in the right effort, and I think we found the right button. Having Tom (Poltl) on there has certainly sparked the team, he’s certainly lifted everyone around him and he’s a very good communicator. And combining that with the added motivation to not have to do extra training sessions has really added a different level to our play right now.”

“We’ve got a group of guys that are working very well together and that we’re getting success with, so no need to change that. We’ll keep riding with this group.”

NOTES: Midfielder Ronnie Silva made his Timbers debut … midfielder Tom Poltl donned the captain’s armband for the second time in the absence of defender Scot Thompson … former Timber Edwin Miranda made his first appearance at PGE Park since leaving the team in June.

SCORING SUMMARY: POR: Alvarez 7’ (UA) Puerto Rico 47’ (OG) Alvarez 57’ (Morales).

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY: POR: Nsien YC (35’), Elfvin YC (55’) Alvarez YC (63’) PR: Segovia YC (43’).

LINEUPS: PUERTO RICO (8-8-6): D. Kennedy GK, J. Queeley D, M. Segovia D (Piette 51’), M. Velez D, A. Gonzalez D (Rivera-Curet 51’), N. Delgado M, E. Miranda M, G. Barros-Schelotto M (Lopuski 68’), A. Marcina F, A. Norambuena F (Oehlman 61’), P. Villegas F (Nieves 69’).
PORTLAND (7-12-6): B. Elfvin GK, G. Marcum D, J. Goodfellow D, M. Nsien D, M. Randolph M, M. Chabala M (Morrison 66’), T. Poltl M, R. Silva M (Morales 45’), M. Chisoni M (Ready 84’), B. Alvarez F, L. Kreamalmeyer F.