Notebook: Former Timbers begin 2008 season

PORTLAND, Ore.– The Portland Timbers begin preseason training camp in about five weeks, but over the weekend several former Timbers players kicked off their 2008 season with Major League Soccer clubs. Among them, defender Leonard Griffin, a member of Portland’s 2007 squad, played his first minutes with the Columbus Crew on Saturday.
 
Griffin played 30 minutes in Columbus’ 4-0 preseason victory over the Kansas City Wizards. The two sides played a series of three, 30-minute periods in both teams’ first preseason competition in Bradenton, Fla. Griffin was featured in the second 30-minute session.
 
Joining the Crew following the Timbers successful run in 2007, Griffin did not make an appearance during the 2007 MLS season due to a knee injury soon after his arrival in Columbus. Prior to joining the Timbers, Griffin was a member of MLS’s Chicago Fire from 2004-06.
 
Former Timbers forward Alan Gordon and defender Mike Randolph begin their second week of training today with MLS’s Los Angeles Galaxy as they prepare for their slate of preseason matches against top Japanese and Australian sides in the Pan Pacific Cup, beginning Feb. 20 in Hawaii. The Galaxy will also play preseason exhibition matches against FC Seoul in Korea and China All-Star Union in China before returning home to wrap up the preseason.
 
Randolph, who was with the Timbers in 2006, enters his second MLS season with the Galaxy after starting 15 matches last season. Gordon, who was the USL First Division Rookie of the Year in 2004 and led the league in scoring that season, enters his fourth full season with Los Angeles and started 11 of 14 appearances in 2007.
 
Goalkeeper Josh Saunders, who was with the Timbers from 2003-06, is in camp with MLS’s Chivas USA. He is one of three trialists, including 2007 California Victory goalkeeper Eric Reed, competing for a position behind reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Brad Guzan. Saunders played for the Puerto Rico Islanders of the USL First Division in 2007.
 
Former Portland defender Kevin Goldthwaite is training in California with the New York Red Bulls as the team prepares for its 2008 MLS campaign. New York will train at the Home Depot Center through Feb. 17. The team’s preseason schedule also includes the Carolina Challenge Cup hosted by the Charleston Battery of the USL First Division.
 
Goldthwaite, who played for three MLS clubs last season, was a member of the Timbers in 2005.
 
The Portland Timbers begin the 2008 USL First Division season April 17 when they play host to the Puerto Rico Islanders at PGE Park. A variety of ticket packages for the Timbers’ 2008 season are available by contacting the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555. Click here for more information.