Timbers host Toronto FC of MLS at PGE Park in Oct.

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers will play host to Major League Soccer's Toronto FC on Sunday, Oct. 28, at PGE Park, it was announced today. The 2007 MLS expansion franchise will be the Timbers' first postseason exhibition opponent in modern franchise history. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.
 
“With this season’s U.S. Open Cup tournament as an example, the competition level between the MLS and USL First Division is very close,” said Timbers general manager and head coach Gavin Wilkinson. “This is our chance to compete against the top level of soccer in North America; it should be a great game.”
 
Toronto FC will be the Timbers’ fourth exhibition opponent this year. Portland hosted three international exhibition matches during the 2007 season against Mexico's Club Necaxa, Italy's AC Milan Primavera and England's Preston North End at PGE Park. The match against Toronto marks the Timbers first exhibition match against an MLS opponent since playing the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2005. 
 
Tickets for the Toronto FC exhibition match start at $12 and are available through area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400. Tickets go on sale to the public Saturday at 10 a.m.
 
Led by head coach Mo Johnston, Toronto FC’s roster is highlighted by several players with experience abroad and at the international level. Forward Jeff Cunningham, a nine-year MLS veteran and 2006 MLS Golden Boot winner, has 10 caps with the U.S. National Team. Defender Tyrone Marshall, also a nine-year MLS veteran, has been a member of the Jamaican National Team since 2000 and was a starter during Jamaica’s qualification matches for the 2006 World Cup. Midfielder Carl Robinson, who played with England’s Sunderland from 2004-2006, has 35 appearances for the Welsh National Team since 2001.  
 
Toronto forwards Danny Dichio and Collin Samuel, and midfielder Ronnie O’Brien each have experience at some of the top levels in Europe. Dichio began his career with Queen’s Park Rangers of the English Premier League in 1993 before joining Sampdoria of Italy’s top tier, the Serie A, in 1997. He brings over 70 goals in 14 seasons in England and Italy to the MLS expansion side. Samuel played the past four seasons with Dundee United of the Scottish Premier League before he joined Toronto FC for its inaugural season. O’Brien, a former Irish youth international, was a member of well-known Italian club, Juventus, from 1999-2002 before beginning his MLS career in 2002.
 
Since 2001, the Timbers have played five matches against MLS opponents, including three exhibition matches. In exhibition play, the Timbers are 2-1-0 against MLS clubs with a pair of 2-1 victories over the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001 and Los Angeles Galaxy in 2002. In the U.S. Open Cup tournament, Portland suffered losses to the Earthquakes in 2004 and 2005.
 
The Timbers’ 2007 campaign was one of the most successful seasons in modern franchise history. Under Wilkinson, the 2007 USL First Division Coach of the Year, the Timbers finished second in the USL First Division with a record of 14-5-9 (51pts) and reached the semifinals for the first time since joining United Soccer League in 2001. In 2007, the Timbers led the league in fewest goals allowed (18) and shutouts (15) while recording an unbeaten record at home (8-0-6) during the regular season. The Timbers’ 2007 season was the best turnaround season in USL First Division history after finishing the 2006 season tied for last.
 
Timbers season ticket holders should contact ticket representative Dan Zusman at (503) 553-5452 for exclusive discounts on Toronto FC exhibition match tickets. For information on discounted tickets for groups of 15 or more, call the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555.
 
ABOUT TORONTO FC
In its inaugural season, Toronto FC has quickly established a successful and passionate fan base. With five supporter groups, Toronto FC is one of the top attended clubs in MLS, averaging 20,105 fans per game through its first 12 regular-season matches. Toronto FC has three games remaining on its 2007 regular-season schedule and plays its final game this season on Oct. 20 against the New England Revolution. First announced in October 2005, Toronto FC was formally introduced as MLS’s 13th club on May 11, 2006, and is the first MLS franchise based outside the United States. Toronto FC plays its home matches at BMO Field, the first soccer-specific stadium in Canada; it also serves as the home of the Canadian National Teams.