PORTLAND, Ore. – United Soccer Leagues announced today that Portland Timbers head coach Gavin Wilkinson is a finalist for the USL First Division Coach of the Year. Additionally, defender Cameron Knowles and forward David Hague were each named as finalists for major USL First Division league awards.
In his first year as the team’s head coach and general manager, Wilkinson is one of two finalists for the league’s annual Coach of the Year award. Knowles is a finalist for the USL First Division’s Defender of the Year, while Hague is a candidate for the league’s Rookie of the Year honor.
Under Wilkinson’s guidance, the Timbers finished second in the USL First Division table with a record of 14-5-9 (51pts). The 2007 Timbers squad recorded the best turnaround season in USL First Division history after tying for last place in 2006. During the 2007 season, Portland led the league in fewest goals allowed (18) and shutouts (15), set modern-franchise records for longest winning streak (7 games), consecutive shutouts (4), and fewest losses in a season (5), and made an appearance in the USL First Division semifinals. Wilkinson joins Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer as finalists for Coach of the Year.
Knowles, in his first year with the Timbers, played every minute of the 2007 season to lead the league in minutes played (2,520). He was the ninth player in Timbers’ modern-franchise history to play in all 28 matches during the regular season. Knowles, 25, was named to the 2007 USL First Division All-League first team. Other Defender of the Year finalists includes the Montreal Impact’s Gabriel Gervais and Atlanta Silverbacks’ David Hayes.
Hague, 25, recorded four goals and two assists in 22 matches for the Timbers in his rookie year. He scored three of his four goals on July 15 to record the league’s first hat trick of the season in a 4-1 win over the California Victory at PGE Park. With his three-goal performance, Hague earned USL First Division Player of the Week honors for Week 13. Others in the running for the 2007 USL First Division Rookie of the Year include Seattle midfielder Kenji Treschuk and Puerto Rico Islanders defender Jay Needham.
Former Timbers striker Dan Antoniuk, who led the league in points this season, is a candidate for the USL First Division’s MVP along with Seattle forward Sebastien Le Toux.
The season-ending award winners will be announced by the USL on Friday at the championship banquet in Seattle leading up to the USL First Division championship match on Saturday between the Sounders and Silverbacks.