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Thursday, April 22, 2004

U of Portland v Portland Timbers

A sunny afternoon at the University of Portland yesterday saw the Portland Timbers beat a Pilots team 4 - 0 with 2 goals apiece from Alex Bengard and Byron Alvarez.

The Timbers looked impressive, especially early on and in midfield (which was really nice to see), with Alex Bengard (timberlog player of the match fact fans!) and Memo Arzate looking particularly useful.

The Timbers opened the scoring on 4' when the Pilots keeper, under pressure from Byron Alvarez, cleared straight to Bengard and he shot coolly into an open goal from about 25yds.

5 minutes later it was 2 - 0 when some great play from Scott Benedetti (playing in a forward role), fighting off challenges, found Bengard in the box. Alex took the ball on his chest and shot home to make it 2 - 0.

In defence the Timbers were playing Lee Morrison at right-back, David Henning at left-back with Gavin Wilkinson. Aaron Heinzen and Hugo Alcarez played wide and adding able support to the midfield was Shaun Saunders.

Brother Josh in goal made a great save on 18' after the Pilots #11 got up to get his head on a Pilot's corner and on 21' the Pilot's had a goal disallowed (which your humble reporter thought at first was good) after a ball from #22 behind the Timbers defence found #15, who controlled with skill and beat Saunders in the Timbers' goal.

At the other end on 23' Memo put Byron in on goal, but he poked the ball just wide right trying to round the keeper. On 33' another chance for Byron as a poor backpass let him in on the keeper, but a poor finish let the chance slide.

On 38' Byron took his next chance as a run across the keeper from the right gave him a shot on goal which he took, 3 - 0 Timbers.

Just before half-time Scott Benedetti went close after Hugo Alcaraz's free kick was punched clear, but Scott's hooked shot went just over the bar.

The second half was less impressive as both teams seemed to wilt, but on 73' Hugo's corner from the right sailed over to Memo and his chip back in was headed down by Gavin Wilkinson for Byron to knock in from close. 4 - 0 Timbers.

Eric Cronkite replaced Memo soon afterwards and any chances from then on were limited to long-range shots as both teams tired.

So a nice pre-season game with the Timbers avenging their earlier loss to the Pilots. The Timbers midfield is looking more promising that usual with Alex Bengard sure to be playing a crucial role this year. Add in Memo Arzate (not sure of his signing/loan status with the Timbers as yet, but I hope he stays) and the Timbers midfield is looking to be a creative one this year to add to the steel of Brian Winters.
Byron looked...well like Byron, sharp even pre-season and destined to get sharper. Both David Henning and Shaun Saunders had nice solid games. Only real disappointment for me was Aaron Heinzen at times looked lost wide on the left and Hugo was not his usual live-wire self, but plenty of time before May 1st for the Timbers to continue to improve.

Coach Bobby Howe talks to the players at half-time

posted by the timberlog at 11:50 AM

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Byron Alvarez

Fadi Afash

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10Q - Bobby Howe

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