International Notebook: Follow five Timbers as they compete for their countries in upcoming World Cup Qualifiers

Numerous Timbers could feature in upcoming national team matches beginning tonight

With MLS play set aside for the current international break, five Timbers still have important matches to play. Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson (New Zealand), defender Futty Danso (The Gambia), midfielder Lovel Palmer (Jamaica), defender Steve Purdy (El Salvador) and defender/midfielder Rodney Wallace (Costa Rica) all face World Cup qualifying or tournament matches with their respective national teams in the coming days.

Friday will be a busy day for Palmer, Purdy and Wallace as all three aim to be involved in their team’s opening CONCACAF Round 3 World Cup qualifying matches.

Palmer and the Reggae Boyz begin the action at 6:30 p.m. PT when they take on Guatemala in Kingston, Jamaica. In a bit of intra-team rivalry, Wallace and the Ticos then welcome Purdy’s El Salvador squad to San Jose, Costa Rica at 7 p.m. PT.

World Cup Qualifying resumes for the Portland trio on June 12 as Jamaica travel to St. John’s to take on Antigua & Barbuda at 4 p.m. PT, El Salvador host Mexico in San Salvador at 6:30 p.m. PT and Costa Rica head to Georgetown for a 6 p.m. PT showdown with Guyana.

Timbers defender Futty Danso already has one qualifier match under his belt, a 1-1 draw between The Gambia and Morocco in which he went the full 90 minutes, nearly scoring a goal, on June 2.

Danso and the Scorpions next take on Tanzania at 6 a.m. PT on June 10 in World Cup Qualifying before shifting their focus to a 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifier  against Algeria at 11:20 a.m. PT on June 16.

The Gambia must overturn a 2-1 first-leg defeat it suffered against Algeria on February 29 to move on to the next round of ACN qualifying.

Gleeson and his New Zealand squad suffered a shock 2-0 loss to New Caledonia in the OFC Nations Cup semifinal last night. The loss is a difficult one as the All Whites also lost out on a chance to represent the OFC at next year’s Confederations Cup in Brazil. Having made the semifinals in this Nations Cup though, they can take some solace in having already moved on to the next stage of World Cup qualifying.

New Zealand next face Solomon Islands for third place in Nations Cup play. Check www.oceaniafootball.com for possible streaming times and kickoff.

Also of note, Timbers U-23 midfielder/defender Eric Miller is currently with the U.S. Men’s National Team U-20 squad as it swings through South America, making stops in Uruguay and Chile. Miller dressed, but did not play for the Yanks in their first match, a 4-2 friendly loss to Uruguay’s U-20 team at Gran Parque Central in Montevideo, site of the first-ever FIFA World Cup match.

Miller and the U.S. U-20s will have a chance to return the favor as they play the Uruguay U-20s in a second friendly on June 8, before heading down to Chile for a friendly with La Roja on June 12. Fans can track the U-20s trip through South America on Twitter: @ussoccer_ynt.