Elfvin, Timbers looking forward to Coventry match

While Portland soccer fans eagerly await the Timbers upcoming exhibition with Coventry City FC of the English Coca-Cola Championship, Timbers players have also had July 8 circled on their calendars for several months in anticipation.

The friendly provides the Timbers with a rare opportunity to play a very competitive and storied team. Coventry City, known as the Sky Blues, is one of the oldest clubs in the game, with a history dating back to 1883.

“Any time you get to play a team like this, it’s a great experience; it adds a lot of excitement to the season,” said Timbers goalkeeper, Bayard Elfvin.

“The second it was put on the schedule, all of us on the team have been looking forward to this game, so we’re all very excited,” he added.

Elfvin and the Timbers hope to turn things around in the international friendly, as the team has dropped its last two USL first division games after putting together a string of eight games without a loss.

“It’s real important for us to come out and play well and get our confidence back,” said Elfvin, “It’s an exhibition game, but at the same time, to have all these people come out, we want to show that we can play, too.”

Elfvin expects to see a different style of soccer from Coventry, and he hopes that the field surface, along with the fans will play to the Timbers' advantage.

“With the English style you see a lot of attacking, long balls … a very physical, tough game, which is sometimes difficult on this surface because it’s very fast. So it will be interesting to see how they adjust their game to the playing conditions here at PGE Park,” he said.

Last season, the Timbers faced off with another opponent from the U.K., Sunderland AFC, of the English Premier League. That contest drew more than 15,000 fans to PGE Park.

“I’ve played a few times in front of crowds like that, and it’s incredible to have them there and have that support behind you,” Elfvin said.