PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers play host to the Minnesota Thunder on Thursday at PGE Park before hitting the road for a match against the first-place Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. Kickoff for both matches is set for 7 p.m.
The Timbers are two games into a stretch of seven matches in 16 days, and have played 11 of the team’s 30 regular-season matches through the first seven weeks of the season.
Last weekend, the Timbers snapped a six-match winless streak with a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact before playing the Rochester Rhinos to a 2-1 loss while on a two-game road trip.
Portland faces a handful of injuries as it plays two games in three days. Forwards Chris Brown (hamstring) and Takayuki Suzuki (ankle) are questionable for Thursday’s contest against Minnesota. Midfielder Lawrence Olum (strained quadricep) is out for Thursday. Forward Benjamin Totori will miss the next four weeks with a sprained right medial collateral ligament (MCL). Portland will also be without goalkeeper Ray Burse, who has been recalled by FC Dallas – he is on loan this season from the Major League Soccer club.
To help fill out the forward position on Thursday, the Timbers have acquired forward Bryan Jordan on a short-term loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS. Jordan was transferred to Los Angeles by the Timbers in March. Last season he ranked among the Timbers’ leading scorers with five goals and an assist.
The Timbers face Minnesota (4-3-1, 13pts) for the second time this season on Thursday – the Thunder’s last regular-season visit to PGE Park in 2008. In their previous meeting on April 24 in Portland, the Timbers claimed a 2-1 win on goals by Brown and midfielder Shaun Higgins. The Timbers are 10-5-9 against the Thunder since joining the USL First Division in 2001, including a 5-3-4 record at PGE Park. Last season, the two sides played to draws in all three matches.
Playing on the road for the third time in four games, the Timbers head north to face Northwest-rival Vancouver (6-2-1, 19pts) on Saturday at Swangard Stadium. Since handing the Timbers their first loss of the season on May 24 – and first home loss in 18 regular-season matches – the Whitecaps have won three straight to climb to the top of the USL First Division standings. The Timbers have a modern-franchise all-time record of 1-11-2 in Vancouver, including a 0-0 draw in the regular-season finale last season.
Tickets for Thursday’s matchup against the Thunder start at $11, and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400.
Both matches this week will be broadcast live on www.portlandtimbers.com; with a live video webcast available through USL Live at www.usllive.com.
ABOUT MINNESOTA THUNDER
The Thunder are coming off a 1-0 loss to the Whitecaps on May 31 at home marking just the second time they’ve been shutout this season. Since joining the Thunder on May 1, forward Melvin Tarley has recorded three goals to become the team’s leading scorer. Minnesota, who is 1-2-1 in its last four matches, makes a quick two-game trip to the Northwest this week to face the Timbers on Thursday and the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.
ABOUT THE VANCOUVER WHITECAPS
The Whitecaps have assembled a three-match winning streak, all coming on the road, recording victories over the Timbers, Charleston Battery and Minnesota. Vancouver has out-scored its opponents 4-0 over the last three matches. The Whitecaps play just three regular-season matches during the month of June, including two matches at home.