Minnesota, Vancouver invade PGE Park this week

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers host two of their final three home matches this week as they face the Minnesota Thunder on Thursday and Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday at PGE Park. Both matches will kickoff at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, the first 1,000 kids will receive a mini Nike soccer ball courtesy of Tursi’s Soccer Store on Nike Night at PGE Park.
Portland (11-4-5, 38pts) is currently tied for first place in the USL First Division with the Seattle Sounders but has a game in hand over Seattle. The Timbers are 0-2-2 in their last four league matches and have netted just one goal in that span.
With a 7-0-4 record at PGE Park, the Timbers are the only team in the USL First Division to have not lost a match at home this season.
Midfielder Andrew Gregor is scheduled to miss Thursday’s match as he serves the final match of his two-game, league-imposed suspension for yellow card accumulation. Gregor, the team’s leading scorer with 18 points (7g, 4a), served the first game of his suspension on Aug. 4 in Minnesota.
In 2007, the Timbers are 0-0-1 against the Thunder (3-8-7, 16pts) after a 1-1 draw in Minnesota last weekend, and are 1-0-0 against Vancouver (7-6-8, 29pts) with a 2-1 win on July 19 at PGE Park. Portland will play both Minnesota and Vancouver a third time this season – each on the road.
Saturday’s match against the Whitecaps will be the Timbers’ final Saturday home match of the 2007 season.
Tickets, starting at $10, for the Timbers match against Minnesota on Thursday and Vancouver on Saturday at PGE Park are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com, or by phone at (503) 224-4400.
Through 20 regular-season matches this season, a handful of Timbers players have reached or are near career milestones. Defender Scot Thompson played in his 80th career match with Portland on Aug. 4 in Minnesota. Defender Lee Morrison, who is among franchise leaders in both games and minutes played, is only 38 minutes away from logging his 9,000th minute with the Timbers. Gregor, a 10-year veteran, is only 279 minutes away from reaching 14,000 minutes played in the USL First Division.
The Thunder picked up their first point in the standings since July 18 with a 1-1 draw against the Timbers on Saturday but extended their winless streak to four matches. Minnesota’s last win was a 3-0 shutout over the Montreal Impact at home on July 15. Former U.S. National Team member Tony Sanneh joined the Thunder in late July for the remainder of the season – he has 43 caps with the U.S. National Team and participated in the 2002 World Cup. The Thunder are 1-4-4 on the road this season.
Vancouver has been held winless in their last nine matches and is 0-2-2 over their last four. The Whitecaps traded 2006 USL First Division MVP Joey Gjertsen and former Major League Soccer forward David Testo to the Montreal Impact on July 26 in exchange for midfielder Ze Roberto and forward Alen Marcina. On the same day, the Whitecaps also added forward Josh Hansen – the leading scorer for the California Victory. The club’s last victory was on June 22. Vancouver is 4-4-5 on the road this season.