Timbers host Rochester Thursday at PGE Park

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers return home to play host to the Rochester Rhinos Thursday at PGE Park at 8 p.m. Thursday’s contest will be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel and featured as the network’s USL First Division Game of the Week.

Tickets, starting at $11, are available at the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Convenient and affordable group and suite packages are available by contacting the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555.

The Timbers enter Thursday’s game having shut out opponents in their last three consecutive matches. Portland’s backline has logged 297 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal, including the team’s 0-0 draw against the Cleveland City Stars on the road over the weekend. The Timbers have conceded just one goal through their first four games of the season.

For his efforts in the Timbers’ shutout against Cleveland on May 9, defender Cameron Knowles was named to the USL First Division Team of the Week for Week 5 on Tuesday. He has played in all five games for the Timbers this season.

Thursday marks the first of two regular-season meetings between the Timbers and Rhinos this season at PGE Park. In 2008, Portland was 0-2-1 against Rochester and recorded its only point against the Rhinos in a draw at PGE Park. The Timbers are 1-8-2 against the Rhinos since 2001, capturing their lone win in the all-time series with a 2-0 result on May 13, 2007, in Portland.

Rochester begins a two-game road trip to the Northwest with Thursday’s matchup against the Timbers. The Rhinos have won three straight and are unbeaten in their last four matches. They feature former Timbers midfielder Andrew Gregor, who will be making his first visit back to PGE Park since being traded last season to Rochester.

In addition to a live telecast on Fox Soccer Channel, Thursday’s game will also be broadcast live online at www.portlandtimbers.com and in Spanish on 910AM+1390AM ESPN Deportes.

Following Thursday’s match, the Timbers’ new Premier Development League team, the Timbers U-23s, takes center stage at PGE Park for a set of home games this week. On Friday, the Timbers U-23s play host to the Spokane Spiders and then face the Yakima Reds Saturday; kickoff for both matches is set for 7 p.m. Tickets are available through the PGE Park box office or Ticketmaster.

Opening the 2009 season with five consecutive road matches, the Rhinos have worked their way to the top of the USL First Division and currently sit in second place with a record of 3-1-1 (10pts). In their last match on May 9, Rochester earned a 2-1 win on the road against the Montreal Impact. Midfielder Tiger Fitzpatrick and defender John Ball each tallied for the Rhinos to help the team snap a 13-game losing streak in Montreal. Forward Johnny Menyongar is tied for the league lead with three goals and paces the team in that category. Rochester finishes its two-game road trip against the defending-champion Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.