Timbers prepare for final stretch of 2008 season

PORTLAND, Ore.Midway through a 12-day break between matches, the Portland Timbers are preparing for the final stretch of the 2008 USL First Division regular season. The Timbers play the first of their final five matches on Sept. 4 at PGE Park.
While the Timbers’ last five regular-season matches are stretched over the remaining three weeks of the season, four of those games will come in an eight-day span starting on Sept. 4 against the Miami FC Blues at PGE Park. Portland will then take a two-game road trip to face the Rochester Rhinos on Sept. 6 and the Montreal Impact in a rescheduled match on Sept. 8, before returning home for its regular-season home finale on Sept. 11 against the Charleston Battery. The Timbers end the regular season on the road against the Carolina RailHawks on Sept. 20.
The Timbers (6-9-10, 28pts) are currently in eighth place in the USL First Division table, but trail Montreal by just three points and the sixth-place Atlanta Silverbacks by only four points. The standings are congested both above and below Portland in the standings, but in particular below, with the Minnesota Thunder, Miami and Carolina all just one point back of the Timbers. Only the top seven clubs advance to the postseason.
When Portland returns to action on Sept. 4, it will be without defender Cameron Knowles due to a one-game, league-imposed suspension for yellow card accumulation. Knowles earned his fifth caution of the season in the 2-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps on Aug. 22. The one-game suspension will end Knowles’ streak of 57 consecutive appearances in league matches; a streak that started at the beginning of the 2007 season.
Odds and Ends: Goalkeeper Brad Knighton, who was loaned to the Timbers from Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution from July 2 to Aug. 22, traveled with New England to Trinidad & Tobago for a CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round match against Joe Public FC on Tuesday. Knighton served as a backup in the Revolution’s 2-1 loss. The second leg will take place on Sept. 2 in New England.