Timbers gear up for Puerto Rico Thursday

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers return to USL First Division action Thursday as they face the Puerto Rico Islanders at PGE Park at 7 p.m. Thursday’s contest is the final regular-season meeting between the two sides this season.
The first 1,000 fans on Thursday, a Miller Lite Thursday, receive a 2008 Timbers team poster on Latino Night presented by Cricket Wireless. Tickets start at $11 and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400.
The Timbers filled an 11-day layoff between USL First Division fixtures with exhibition matches against top-tiered Mexican club Monarcas Morelia. On July 3, a season-high 11,932 fans watched Morelia capture a 2-0 win over the Timbers at PGE Park.
The Timbers and Islanders meet for the third time this season on Thursday. Portland leads the season series with a 1-0-1 record, including a 1-0 win over Puerto Rico in the 2008 season opener on April 17 at PGE Park. The two teams played to a 2-2 draw in Puerto Rico on May 16, which saw the Timbers score two unanswered goals to capture a point on the road.
Portland has a 5-0-0 record against the Islanders at PGE Park since Puerto Rico joined the USL First Division in 2004.  
The Islanders, who feature five members of the Puerto Rican National Team, have won three of their last four matches to help the club jump from the bottom of the table into playoff contention. Thursday’s match is the third in a series of four matches in nine days for Puerto Rico. During the month of July, Puerto Rico plays all six of its matches on the road, where it is 1-3-1 this season.
Portland midfielder Tom Poltl will serve the final match of his three-game, league-imposed suspension Thursday for his red card issued on June 12 against the Atlanta Silverbacks.
Puerto Rico captured its first road win of the season in its last match with a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact on July 6. Forward Josh Hansen scored in the fifth minute to end Montreal’s four-game unbeaten streak. Goalkeeper Bill Guadette, who recorded 10 saves in the shutout, and Hansen were named to the USL First Division Team of the Week for Week 12 with their performances against Montreal. The Islanders head to Charleston to play the league-leading Battery on Saturday.