Timbers unveil 2004 schedule

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers will open the 2004 A-League soccer season at PGE Park Saturday, May 1 against the Seattle Sounders, it was announced with United Soccer Leagues’ release of the official league schedule.

Again this season, the Timbers’ first two games against the Sounders (May 1, May 15) serve as qualifiers for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The Timbers, who narrowly missed out on the playoffs with a 15-11-2 record last season, are again slated to play a 28-game schedule with 14 home matches and 14 road matches in 2004.

Portland, which is part of the newly aligned seven-team Western Conference, will play each of its conference rivals four times (two home, two away) over the course of the season. The Timbers join Calgary, Edmonton, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Seattle and Vancouver in the Western Conference.

Outside their conference, the Timbers travel to Charleston and Atlanta June 4-5. They play host to Rochester June 17 and expansion Puerto Rico on Aug. 19.

In terms of days of the week, the home schedule is a great combination of Thursday and weekend games, including the following breakdown: Thursday (7), Friday (2), Saturday (4), Sunday (1). Standard home game times are 7 p.m., and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

"Every year we strive to put together a balanced schedule, and I think this year we really hit the mark with a schedule that works well for both our fans and players," said Jim Taylor, Timbers general manager.

The Timbers wrap up a three-game homestand against Milwaukee on Sunday, Aug. 29 at PGE Park to conclude the regular season. The playoffs open the following week with the conference semifinals and conclude with the A-League championship the weekend of Sept. 18.

The 2004 A-League playoff format will remain relatively the same with the top four teams from each conference advancing to the postseason and playing in a two-leg, aggregate-score series in the conference semifinals and conference final to determine who will advance to the A-League championship.

A host of full- and partial-season ticket packages are available by calling the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555.

2004 PORTLAND TIMBERS SCHEDULE
MAY
Saturday, May 1 - SEATTLE*
Thursday, May 13 - CALGARY
Saturday, May 15 - @Seattle*
Sunday, May 23 - @Vancouver
Saturday, May 29 - MILWAUKEE

JUNE
Friday, June 4 - @Charleston
Saturday, June 5 - @Atlanta
Thursday, June 10 - EDMONTON
Saturday, June 12 - VANCOUVER
Thursday, June 17 - ROCHESTER
Tuesday, June 22 - @Minnesota
Wednesday, June 23 - @Milwaukee

JULY
Friday, July 2 - VANCOUVER
Thursday, July 8 - EDMONTON
Friday, July 16 - @Vancouver
Saturday, July 17 - @Seattle
Saturday, July 24 - SEATTLE
Wednesday, July 28 - @Calgary
Thursday, July 29 - @Edmonton
Saturday, July 31 - @Milwaukee

AUGUST
Thursday, Aug. 5 - MINNESOTA
Saturday, Aug. 7 - @Edmonton
Sunday, Aug. 8 - @Calgary
Thursday, Aug. 12 - CALGARY
Saturday, Aug. 14 - @Minnesota
Thursday, Aug. 19 - PUERTO RICO
Friday, Aug. 27 - MINNESOTA
Sunday, Aug. 29 - MILWAUKEE

* Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Matches
- Home games in all caps, bold
- All home game times Pacific (road game times to be released at a later date)
- Dates and times subject to change