Timbers take on Rochester Thursday at PGE Park

PORTLAND, Ore. – On a USL First Division-record 24-game unbeaten streak, the Portland Timbers play host to the Rochester Rhinos Thursday at PGE Park; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Thursday marks the final scheduled matchup between the two sides this season.

Tickets, starting at $11, are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000. The first 2,000 fans in attendance Thursday receive t-shirts, presented by FSN.

The Timbers (14-1-10, 52pts) enter the week in first place in the USL First Division with a three-point lead and a game in hand over the Carolina RailHawks in second place. Portland battled the Charleston Battery to a scoreless draw on Aug. 28 to extend its league-record unbeaten streak to 24 games.

Thursday’s contest will be broadcast live online at www.portlandtimbers.com, with a live video webcast available through USL Live – now a free service at www.usllive.com.

CRONIN, KEEL NAMED TO USL FIRST DIVISION TEAM OF THE WEEK

United Soccer Leagues announced Tuesday that goalkeeper Steve Cronin and defender Stephen Keel were selected to the USL First Division Team of the Week for Week 21. Cronin and Keel aided in the Timbers’ 12th shutout of the season in a 0-0 draw against the Battery last week. It is the second Team of the Week selection for both players.

THE FINAL STRETCH
The Timbers begin a compact September schedule on Thursday against Rochester to end the regular season. Portland plays its five remaining matches over a 15-day span. Four of the team’s final regular-season matches will take place at home, with the regular-season finale set for Sept. 17, against the Cleveland City Stars at PGE Park.

ROUND 3: TIMBERS vs. ROCHESTER
The Timbers and Rhinos (9-8-8, 35pts) finish their three-game season series Thursday. Portland is 2-0-0 against Rochester in 2009, including a 4-1 road win on Aug. 15 to earn its first-ever win over the Rhinos in Rochester. In their first matchup of the season, the Timbers used a 90th-minute penalty-kick goal by Ryan Pore to capture a 2-1 win May 14 at PGE Park. The Rhinos have had a player ejected from each of the two games against the Timbers this season.

ABOUT ROCHESTER RHINOS
The Rhinos finish a two-game road trip to the Northwest with Thursday’s fixture against the Timbers at PGE Park. Rochester is on a four-game winless streak (0-1-3), including a 1-1 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. The team’s winless stretch started with a 4-1 loss to the Timbers on Aug. 15. The Rhinos feature two former Timbers players in defender Brent Sancho and midfielder Andrew Gregor.

LOOKING BACK AT AUGUST
With the draw against Charleston, Portland closed its August schedule, the busiest month of the regular season, with a record of 5-0-2. The Timbers recorded three shutouts and limited opponents to just four goals last month. Pore and forward Mandjou Keita combined to score 10 of the team’s 13 goals over the seven matches.

TIMBERS PLAYOFF TICKET PACKAGES ON SALE
Timbers 2009 playoff ticket packages are on sale, starting at $36. Playoff packages include a ticket for all three possible home playoff matches – first, semifinal and championship rounds – at PGE Park, presented by Spirit Mountain Casino. Packages are available through the PGE Park box office or by calling the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555.