Preston invades PGE Park on Saturday

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers battle England’s Preston North End on Saturday at PGE Park in The Oregonian Timbers vs. Preston North End Exhibition presented by Widmer at 7 p.m. The Timbers will put their unbeaten record on the line against a club looking for promotion into the English Premier League next season.
 
Tickets, starting at $17, are available at the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at (503) 224-4400 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
 
The Timbers (11-3-4, 37pts) are in first place in the USL First Division and have won seven of their last nine league matches. In international exhibitions this season at PGE Park, the Timbers are 2-0-0 including a dramatic 4-3 win on penalties against AC Milan’s U-21 squad in June. In May, the Timbers defeated Mexico’s Club Necaxa 1-0 on a goal by Bryan Jordan.
 
The 2007 season marks the third consecutive year the Timbers have faced an English opponent. In 2005, Portland battled English Premier League bound Sunderland to a 0-0 draw. Last season, the Timbers captured a shoot-out victory over Coventry City from England’s Coca-Cola League Championship.
 
Preston North End will conclude its U.S. preseason tour on Saturday against the Timbers at PGE Park. In its previous matches on tour, Preston North End is 0-2-0 with losses to the Seattle Sounders and Mexico’s Monterrey. Preston North End returns home on Sunday and will play one final tune-up match before the regular season starts in August.
 
Preston North End, a member of the Coca-Cola League Championship and one of the oldest clubs in England, finished the 2006-07 season one point away from a promotional playoff berth for a chance at promotion into the English Premier League. Loaded with international talent, Preston North End features two players who are also members of the Ireland National Team in goalkeeper Wayne Henderson and defender Sean St. Ledger. Preston North End captain Graham Alexander is a member of the Scottish National Team.
 
Known as the Lillywhites, Preston North End was the first club in English soccer history to record “the double,” winning both the league title and Football Association (FA) Cup in 1889. With over 100 years of history, Preston North End, under second-year manager Paul Simpson, will look to earn promotion into England’s top tier this season for the first time since 1961. The Lilywhites start the 2007-08 Coca-Cola League Championship season on August 11 with a home match against Norwich City.