Timbers' 2007 season one for the record books

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers finished one the club’s most successful seasons over the weekend, falling in the 2007 USL First Division semifinals to the Atlanta Silverbacks. Under first-year head coach Gavin Wilkinson, the Timbers finished the 2007 season near the top of the table and set several records both on and off the field.
 
Timbers top attendance records in 2007
Off the field, the Timbers celebrated several attendance records in 2007, and PGE Park saw three of the club’s largest crowds in modern franchise history. On Aug. 23, for the Timbers regular-season home finale, PGE Park played host to club’s largest crowd since joining United Soccer Leagues in 2001 as 15,833 fans witnessed a 1-0 win over the Charleston Battery. The Timbers also set a new record for modern franchise playoff attendance when 11,789 fans attended the semifinal match at PGE Park on Sept. 23. In all, the Timbers attracted 142,994 fans over 19 total matches in 2007, including a record-setting 95,594 for regular-season matches. The Timbers also celebrated the club’s 500,000th fan to attend a regular-season match at PGE Park since 2001 on May 27.
 
Led by defense, Timbers find success in 2007
On the field, the Timbers assembled one of the most successful seasons in modern-franchise history. With a 14-5-9 (51pts) record, the Timbers finished the 2007 regular season second in the USL First Division and were the first team in the league to capture a playoff berth. The Timbers led the league in fewest goals allowed (18) and shutouts (15). The team also set modern-franchise records for most consecutive wins (7), fewest losses in a season (5) and fewest goals allowed in one season (18). Portland’s defense also set several team records, including most shutouts in a season (15), consecutive shutout performances (4) - achieved twice in 2007 - and at one point, logged 377 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.
 
In 2007, Portland advanced to the postseason for the fifth time in its seven USL seasons. For the first time since 2001, the Timbers advanced past the first round by knocking out the defending-champion Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 on aggregate. By eliminating the Whitecaps from the postseason, the Timbers made their first appearance in the USL First Division semifinals. In the end, it was penalty kicks that helped the Silverbacks defeat the Timbers in the semifinals and end Portland’s hope of advancing to the USL First Division finals for the first time in modern-franchise history.
 
The Timbers reached two USL First Division milestones during the 2007 season. In August, Portland became just the third team since 2000 to record an unbeaten home record in the USL First Division, going 8-0-6 at PGE Park during the regular season. Also in 2007, the Timbers recorded the best turnaround season in USL First Division history, finishing the year in second place after tying for last in 2006.
 
Timbers individual accomplishments recognized
Several Timbers were honored this season for their individual performances on the field. Goalkeeper Josh Wicks received three league honors this season including the 2007 USL First Division Goalkeeper of the Year. Wicks was also named to the all-league first team and earned the 2007 goals-against-average title with a 0.60 average. Defender Cameron Knowles and midfielder Andrew Gregor also received all-league first-team selections, while fourth-year defender Scot Thompson garnered all-league second-team honors. Thirteen different Timbers players earned a total of 22 USL First Division Team of the Week selections in 2007. Gregor, Wicks and forward David Hague were chosen as the USL First Division Player of the Week during the season. Defenders Leonard Griffin and Justin Thompson each received USL First Division Goal of the Week honors for their contributions on the offensive end of the field.  
 
Three members of the Timbers organization were announced as finalists for major USL First Division awards earlier this week. Wilkinson is one of two finalists for the 2007 Coach of the Year. Knowles is one of three candidates for the league’s Defender of the Year, and Hague is up against two others for the USL First Division Rookie of the Year award. Winners of the league’s end-of-season awards will be announced on Friday.  
 
Wilkinson, who also doubles as the Timbers’ general manager, met with players on Tuesday and will conduct team and player reviews this week. Portland has a handful of players already under contract for the 2008 season including Knowles, Gregor, forwards Chris Bagley and Bryan Jordan, midfielders Lawrence Olum and Tom Taylor and defender Kevin Meissner.
 
Information on Timbers 2008 season tickets will be announced soon. Fans interested in purchasing 2008 season tickets should contact ticket representative Dan Zusman at (503) 553-5452 or dzusman@pgepark.com.