Timbers to face Tigres' crop of international talent
July 11, 2008
PORTLAND, Ore. – When Mexican club U.A.N.L. Tigres comes to Portland on Tuesday to face the Portland Timbers in an exhibition match, expect to see their crop of internationally talented players take the field at PGE Park. Players like Mexican star striker Francisco Fonseca.
Tigres, who competes in Mexico’s top league called the Primera Division, features a handful of players among their first-team roster who have competed at various levels on the international stage. Highlighting the group of key contributors on Tigres’ preseason roster coming to Portland are forwards Fonseca and Blas Perez and veteran goalkeeper Oscar Perez.
The Timbers and Tigres square off on Tuesday, July 15 at PGE Park at 7 p.m. presented by The Oregonian.
Fonseca, who is regarded as one of the most popular and charismatic soccer players in Mexico, led the team UNAM Pumas to consecutive tournament titles in 2004 early in his career to earn a spot on Mexico’s National Team and was selected to participate in the 2006 World Cup. In total, Fonseca has 41 caps, including appearances in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and scored 26 goals for Mexico. He is prominently placed on the front cover of the video game FIFA Soccer 07 along with other international players Landon Donovan (U.S.) and Ronaldinho (Brazil).
Oscar Perez, who enters his seventeenth professional season in 2008, was a member of Mexico’s 1998 and 2002 World Cup teams and played in four matches during the 2002 tournament. Oscar has 46 caps with the Mexican National Team and has even scored a goal at the international level. He began his career with Tigres’ rival Cruz Azul in 1991 and would go on to play in a record-setting 416 matches with the club before moving to Tigres following the 2007 season.
Blas Perez has been a member of the Panamanian National Team since 2000. In the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Blas scored a team-high eight goals to earn make the all-tournament team. Prior to joining Tigres, the 27-year-old striker helped Colombian club Cucuta reach the 2007 Copa Libertadores tournament.
Tigres also features former Olympians in defenders Hugo Sanchez Guerrero and Diego Martinez who were both members of Mexico’s U-23 team that competed in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Guerrero is also the first Monterrey-born player to score a goal in the Copa Libertadores tournament, while Martinez captained the Olympic team in 2004.
Tigres boasts another former Olympian in Paraguay’s Pedro Benitez. The defender was a member on the silver-medal-winning team in 2004 that lost in the final to Argentina.
Other notable players for Tigres include team captain and midfielder Antonio Sancho, who has made over 200 appearances with the Monterrey-based club from 2000-06; 2007, goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera, an up-and-coming goalkeeper known as the Pink Panther for his pink uniform and helped Chivas reach the Copa Libertadores in 2005, and midfielder Guillermo Marino, who was a helped Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors capture five tournament titles from 2005-07.
Tigres visits Portland while preparing for the upcoming 2008 Apertura season beginning on July 26. The Timbers will be Tigres’ seventh preseason opponent. Tickets for the July 15 exhibition start at $15 and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400.
Tigres’ Preseason Travel Roster by Position:
Israel Jimenez – former U-20 Mexican National Team member
Jonathan De Leon