Timbers face NSC Minnesota on the road Saturday

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers continue their push for playoff positioning as they travel to face the NSC Minnesota Stars at the National Sports Center on Saturday at 5 p.m. (Pacific).

A live radio broadcast will be available on Sportsradio 95.5 The Game, with a live video webcast available online at www.portlandtimbers.com/live.

The Timbers moved into sole possession of third place in the USL Conference with a 1-0 road win over AC St. Louis in their last match Aug. 14. Forward Bright Dike scored his third goal in four games to help Portland end a four-game winless stretch.

In a congested playoff picture, the Timbers (8-7-7, 31pts) are tied for fourth place in the overall USSF Division-2 Pro League standings with the Carolina RailHawks. Only four points separate Portland and Carolina from the final teams in the playoff picture – Puerto Rico Islanders, NSC Minnesota and FC Tampa Bay Rowdies. Eight teams advance to the postseason. The two conference leaders are joined by six teams with the next-best point totals, regardless of conference alignment.

Saturday marks the fourth and final regular-season meeting between the Timbers and Stars (7-10-7, 28pts). The two sides met last week in Portland, playing to a 2-2 draw at PGE Park. In their last visit to NSC Minnesota on June 19, the Timbers claimed a 2-0 win on goals by midfielder Ryan Pore and defender Josh Cameron. The two clubs traded road wins in their first two encounters in June; Portland is 1-1-1 against NSC Minnesota in 2010.

After taking on the Stars, the Timbers return home to close out their regular-season home slate. Portland opens a three-game homestand at PGE Park on Aug. 26, playing host to the Austin Aztex at 7 p.m. The Aug. 26 match features a testimonial match and special recognition of former Timbers player and assistant coach Jimmy Conway.

One of eight teams currently in the playoff picture, the Stars are in seventh place in the USSF D-2 Pro League table. NSC Minnesota had a six-game unbeaten streak come to an end with a 1-0 loss at home to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Aug. 14; it was the team’s first loss since July 4. Saturday’s match is the Stars’ final game during the month of August. The team will get a bye week before starting the final month of the season Sept. 4.

Go bowling with the Timbers on Friday, Aug. 27, as the club plays host to Bowl-for-a-Goal at Hollywood Bowl in Portland, with proceeds benefitting the Portland Community Fund. Fans can bowl alongside their favorite Timbers players from 6-9 p.m. Each participant will receive an official event t-shirt, food and non-alcoholic beverages and have their name entered into a drawing for a 2011 MLS jersey. The registration fee for individuals is $50 or teams of six can register for $200; season ticket holders can register for the event for $40. To sign up or learn more details, visit www.portlandtimbers.com.