Timbers three-match week begins with Tigres

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers begin a three-game week on Tuesday as they play host to top Mexican club U.A.N.L. Tigres at PGE Park in an international exhibition match, presented by The Oregonian, at 7 p.m. The Timbers then start a two-game road trip on Friday in Atlanta.

Portland faces three matches in a span of six days, including its fourth scheduled exhibition match of the season and road games on back-to-back nights against the Atlanta Silverbacks and first-place Charleston Battery.

Tigres visits Portland on Tuesday for one of its final preseason matches before starting the Primera Division’s Apertura season on July 26. Based in Monterrey, Mexico, Tigres features several players with international experience, including veteran goalkeeper Oscar Perez, who competed in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups for Mexico, forward Francisco Fonseca, who was a member of Mexico’s 2006 World Cup squad, and current Panamanian National Team striker Blas Perez.

For the exhibition match against Tigres, the Timbers roster will feature forward Byron Alvarez as a guest player. Alvarez, a native of Mexico City, Mexico, is the Timbers’ modern franchise leader in scoring with 41 goals and nine assists in 96 matches from 2003-06.

Tickets to see the Timbers take on Tigres start at $15 and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400. Group discounts and suite packages are available by contacting the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555.

Portland (5-6-6, 21pts) returns to its USL First Division schedule to wrap up the week with a two-game road trip. On Friday, the Timbers take on the Silverbacks (5-4-5, 20 pts) at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium at 4:55 p.m. (Pacific). The Timbers are 1-0-1 against Silverbacks this season, and captured a 2-0 win in their previous visit to Atlanta on June 28.

With their second game in as many days, the Timbers then face the league-leading Battery (8-4-3, 27pts) on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) at Blackbaud Stadium. Saturday’s contest is the first of three regular-season matches between the two sides. Last season, Portland was 1-1-0 against the Battery.

Both road matches will be broadcast live on www.portlandtimbers.com; with a live video webcast available through USL Live at www.usllive.com.

Tigres, who plays in the Primera Division against well-known clubs Chivas de Guadalajara and Club America, is nearing the end of an eight-match preseason schedule as it prepares for the upcoming season starting at the end of July. During its preseason, Tigres has faced Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids, the Austin Aztex of the Premier Development League, as well as other Mexican clubs. Tigres plays its final preseason fixture against Spanish club Atletico Madrid on Saturday in Mexico.

Atlanta is coming off a 2-1 exhibition loss to Argentinean first division club Atletico Independiente over the weekend. The Silverbacks’ last league match was a 3-2 win at home over the Minnesota Thunder on July 3. Atlanta currently sits in sixth place at 20 points and is one point behind the Timbers in the USL First Division standings. The Silverbacks are led by the league’s second leading scorer in forward Macoumba Kandji, who has recorded six goals and four assists in 13 games.

The Battery had a three-game unbeaten streak come to an end with a 3-1 loss to the Puerto Rico Islanders at home on July 12. The Battery are currently in first place with 27 points and have just a three point lead over second-place Puerto Rico. Charleston, Atlanta and Puerto Rico are all tied for the league lead in total goals scored at 21. Aiding in that effort is Battery forward Randi Patterson, who has scored a league-best seven goals on the season.