Timbers host Vancouver, Charleston at PGE Park

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers play host to a pair of matches this week at PGE Park, starting Thursday against the Vancouver Whitecaps followed by a game against the Charleston Battery on Saturday. Kickoff for both matches is set for 7 p.m.

The Timbers face the Northwest-rival Whitecaps Thursday on Alumni Night. Several former Timbers players from the North American Soccer League (NASL) and USL First Division franchises will be on hand to participate in a special halftime match.

Saturday is Nike Night at PGE Park as Portland and the Battery square off in a top-of-the-table matchup. The first 1,000 kids 12 and under receive a Nike drawstring bag.

Tickets for both contests start at $11 and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Portland (9-1-9, 36pts) is one of four teams, along with the Battery, competing for the top spot in the USL First Division, with the first through fourth place teams separated by just three points. The Timbers are currently tied with the Carolina RailHawks in second place at 36 points.

The Timbers recorded a 1-1 draw against the Minnesota Thunder in their last match on Aug. 1, to extend their USL First Division record unbeaten streak to 18 games. Portland is also unbeaten at home this season in league play (6-0-2) and has posted six shutouts at PGE Park.

The Timbers and Whitecaps conclude their three-game season series on Thursday. Portland is 1-1-0 against Vancouver this season, including a 2-0 win on May 30 at PGE Park. The Whitecaps are the only team to have defeated the Timbers this season, logging a 1-0 win in Vancouver on April 25. Since 2001, the Timbers are 8-18-8 against the Whitecaps, including a 7-4-6 mark at PGE Park.

Portland and Charleston meet for the second time this season on Saturday. In their first matchup, forward Mandjou Keita scored the equalizer in the second half to help the Timbers record a 1-1 draw on June 13 in Charleston. All-time, Portland is 4-6-2 against the Battery. Saturday’s match marks the Battery’s only scheduled visit to the Rose City this season. The two sides finish their 2009 season series Aug. 28 in Charleston.

The Timbers will be without the services of forward Jason McLaughlin for Thursday’s match against the Whitecaps due to a league-imposed, one-game suspension for his red card ejection against Minnesota.

Thursday’s game against the Whitecaps will be broadcast live on 95.5 The Game. Both matches will be broadcast live online at www.portlandtimbers.com and in Spanish on 910AM+1390AM ESPN Deportes, with a live video webcast available on USL Live – now a free service at www.usllive.com.

Originally scheduled for Friday, the Timbers Nike Kids Day presented by Providence Health & Services has been postponed.

The Whitecaps open a set of matches on back-to-back days Thursday against the Timbers at PGE Park. Vancouver is unbeaten in its last three games, including a scoreless draw against the Cleveland City Stars on Aug. 1. The Whitecaps (7-7-4, 25pts) currently rank sixth in the USL First Division. They face the Battery on Friday at home, where they are 5-2-1 this season.

The Battery (10-3-8, 38pts) open their August schedule with a two-game road trip to the Northwest to take on the Whitecaps and Timbers. After playing Vancouver Friday, Charleston travels south to face the Timbers on Saturday. The Battery, whose defense has allowed a league-low nine goals through its first 21 games, enters the road trip on a four-game unbeaten streak, including consecutive wins over the RailHawks and Austin Aztex.