Galaxy's Saunders, Jordan return to the Rose City

LA pair began their professional careers with the Timbers

Bryan Jordan, Josh Saunders, USL Timbers

Photo Credit: 
Photos by Craig Mitchelldyer

Though the arrival of the the LA Galaxy to Portland for Wednesday evening's match (7:30pm PT, ESPN2ESPN3.com750 AM The GameLa Pantera 940 AM) has had fans buzzing about the likes of Landon Donovan and David Beckham, longtime Timbers fans will recall the contributions of Galaxy forward Bryan Jordan and goalkeeper Josh Saunders to the Timbers' USL franchise in the middle half of the last decade.

Jordan, who has made eight appearances for the LA Galaxy this season, began his professional career with the second division Timbers in 2007 after completing his collegiate career at Oregon State University. Jordan played in 26 regular season games in his first season with Portland, scoring five goals while helping lead the team to the USL semifinals against the Atlanta Silverbacks.

After the Timbers transfered him to the Galaxy in early 2008, The 5-foot-8 forward returned on loan to Portland and played nine games for the Timbers that year. 

 Photos: Getty Images

"I'm excited, I've been excited for Portland since they got their team," Jordan said. "It's great for the league. I think it'll be quite a bit different for me now that I'm on the other side playing against them, but hopefully they'll still be kind to me."

Saunders, LA's starting goalkeeper since first-choice 'keeper Donovan Ricketts went down with an injury on June 25 against San Jose, has performed well between the posts. The Grants Pass, Ore., native has made 11 appearances for the Galaxy this season, earning a 0.98 goals-against-average entering Wednesday's nationally-televised match.

Spanning four seasons (2003-06), Saunders racked up 90 appearances for the Timbers before earning his MLS debut in October of 2008 for the Galaxy.
 
"I considered [playing in Portland] the first profession experience I ever had," said Saunders, who expects about 20 friends and family members to be in the stands on Wednesday. "It's always nice to come back home, I have a lot of family still in the area, it feels great. It's good to be home. 
 
"Obviously, when you play for the Timbers it's special because you have the fans behind you all the time. Playing against the Timbers, on the MLS stage, it's going to be tough. I'm sure I'm going to catch a lot of stick tomorrow, that's just part of the game," Saunders said. "Then after the game as long as they cheer for me and give me a wave of love, that's all that matters."
 
Both former Timbers were impressed with the new JELD-WEN Field, which has undergone a considerable transformation since their playing days in the Rose City.
 
"The field and stadium looks great with the upgrades that they've got since I've been here and I'm sure with the Timbers' Army cheering tomorrow it's going to be a great experience," Jordan said.