Timbers open postseason with Vancouver

PORTLAND, Ore.The Portland Timbers begin the first round of the 2007 USL First Division playoffs against  the Vancouver Whitecaps on Friday. Portland will host the second match of the two-game series on Sunday at PGE Park presented by Spirit Mountain Casino.
 
The Timbers travel to Vancouver on Friday to play the defending-champion Whitecaps at Swangard Stadium at 7 p.m. Portland will then host Vancouver on Sunday at PGE Park at 5 p.m. in a match that will be featured on Fox Soccer Channel. Both matches will be broadcast live at www.portlandtimbers.com.
 
Timbers’ first-round playoff tickets, starting at $12, are available at the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400.
 
The first two rounds of the USL First Division playoffs consist of a two-game, aggregate-goal series. Teams that advance past the first round will be re-seeded for the semifinals. A champion will be determined in a one-game final hosted by one of the two finalists.
 
Since joining the USL First Division in 2001, the Timbers have advanced to the postseason five times seven seasons. Portland is 3-7-0 in playoff matches and has not advanced past the first round since the 2001 season. In their last playoff appearance in 2005, the Timbers were eliminated in the first round by the Seattle Sounders.
 
Portland finished the 2007 regular season in second place in the USL First Division with a record of 14-5-9 (51pts). The Timbers’ defense led the league in both shutouts (15) and fewest goals allowed – just 18 in 28 matches. The 18 goals conceded is the lowest total allowed by a Timbers team in seven seasons in the USL First Division. Portland is one of just three teams in 2007 to record a winning record both at home and on the road. In August, the Timbers became the third team in the USL First Division since 2000 to record an unbeaten home record going 8-0-6 at PGE Park.  
 
The Timbers are 1-0-2 in three regular-season matches this year against the Whitecaps, including a 0-0 draw at Swangard Stadium on Sept. 9. Portland defeated the Whitecaps 2-1 at PGE Park on July 19 on a second-half goal by midfielder Lawrence Olum. The other two contests ended in 0-0 draws.
 
Portland is 7-14-8 against the Whitecaps in regular-season matches since 2001. The Timbers are 6-3-6 against the Whitecaps at home but are just 1-11-2 against Vancouver on the road. The last time the Timbers and Whitecaps met in the postseason was in 2002. Vancouver recorded two 1-0 wins to eliminate the Timbers in the first round.
 
ABOUT VANCOUVER WHITECAPS
The Whitecaps finished the 2007 USL First Division season in seventh place with a record of 9-7-12 (39pts). After a 12-game winless streak during the middle part of the season, the Whitecaps ended the regular season with a 2-0-2 record in their final four matches. Vancouver played the final six matches of their schedule at home. At Swangard Stadium this season, the Whitecaps are 5-3-6. Vancouver has clinched a playoff berth for the 11th consecutive season and 13 times in the past 15 years. The Whitecaps won their first USL First Division title in 2006 and are 17-12-9 in playoff matches.