PORTLAND, Ore.
– The Portland Timbers concluded one of their most successful seasons as a member of the USL First Division over the weekend. Under third-year head coach
Gavin Wilkinson
, the Timbers captured the Commissioner’s Cup, reached the semifinals and created many notable moments over the course of the 2009 season.




Historic unbeaten streak highlights successful season

After finishing at the bottom of the table last season, the Timbers returned to the top of the USL First Division in 2009. Portland finished the regular season in first place with a record of 16-4-10 (58pts), and captured its second Commissioner’s Cup as the regular-season champion.




On their way to the regular-season title, the Timbers assembled a USL First Division-record unbeaten streak of 24 matches. After a loss in the season opener on the road, the Timbers went 14-0-10 in their next 24 matches to set the league’s new record for the longest, single-season unbeaten streak. On July 19, they broke the previous unbeaten mark of 15 matches set by the 2005 Montreal Impact with a 3-0 win on the road over the Miami FC Blues, and would extend the streak to 24 games before it came to an end on Sept. 3. Portland’s 24-match unbeaten streak is not only a league record, but is also one of the longest streaks in U.S. Soccer history.




In 2009, the Timbers also set a new modern franchise benchmark for fewest losses in a single season (4) and conceded the second-fewest goals total (19) since 2001. They paced the USL First Division in scoring with 45 goals and shared the league mark for fewest goals allowed at 19 with the Carolina RailHawks. The Timbers also owned the best road record in the league, going 6-1-8 away from PGE Park.




The Timbers reached the league’s semifinals for the second time in three seasons. As the lone U.S.-based club remaining in the semifinal round, the Timbers battled the Vancouver Whitecaps in an exciting series capped by a thrilling 3-3 draw at PGE Park. But it was a 2-1 win by the Whitecaps in the first leg that proved to be the difference in the aggregate-goal series.




Taking home the hardware

In addition to winning their second Commissioner’s Cup in modern franchise history, the Timbers also captured the Cascadia Cup and made one their deepest runs in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2009.




Winning their regular-season series against the Whitecaps, the Timbers won their first Cascadia Cup this season. The Cascadia Cup is a fan-based derby between Portland and Vancouver and is awarded to the club with the best head-to-head record between the two sides. With a pair of victories at home, Portland was 2-1-0 against Vancouver during the regular season.




Advancing to the third round of the U.S. Open Cup, the Timbers made one of their deepest runs in the annual tournament. After victories against lower division Kitsap Pumas (PDL) and Sonoma County Sol (USASA), the Timbers played host to Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders FC at PGE Park in July. The matchup between Northwest counterparts ended in a 2-1 win for Seattle, but drew a sellout crowd of 16,382 – the Timbers’ first sellout crowd at PGE Park since joining the USL First Division.




A
nother record-breaking season for attendance

For a third straight season, the Timbers celebrated new attendance records at PGE Park, and saw the first sellout crowd as a member of the USL First division in 2009. The Timbers’ U.S. Open Cup match against Seattle drew 16,382 fans to a sold-out PGE Park. In total, the Timbers attracted 200,105 fans over 20 home matches at PGE Park in 2007, including a franchise-record 146,005 for regular-season matches. The 2009 season marked the second straight season in which the Timbers eclipsed the 100,000 mark in attendance.




Additionally, the 14,283 on hand for the Timbers’ semifinal match against Vancouver on Oct. 4, was the largest playoff crowd at PGE Park since 2001.




Reaching new heights and individual accomplishments

In addition to the numerous team achievements over the course of the season, several Timbers players were recognized for their individual accomplishments and a few reached career milestones.




Defender
Scot Thompson
played in 29 matches and logged 2,222 minutes during the season to become the Timbers new modern-franchise career leader in both games (144) and minutes played (12,291). Defender
David Hayes
also reached a significant career milestone during the season, appearing in his 250th career USL First Division match on July 17. In that match, he scored the equalizing goal in a 1-1 draw on the road against Miami off a 25-yard free kick; his strike would keep the Timbers’ unbeaten streak alive for yet another match. Hayes also set the Timbers’ new single-season record for minutes played at 2,698.




Several Timbers players were honored for their individual performances this season. Forward
Mandjou Keita
was recognized as the USL First Division’s Scoring Champion, leading the league with 29 points from 11 goals and seven assists. Goalkeeper
Steve Cronin
was named the USL First Division’s Goalkeeper of the Year, after ranking among league leaders in several statistical categories. Both Keita and Cronin were among the Timbers’ four All-League First-Team selections in 2009. Hayes and midfielder
Ryan Pore
were also selected to the first team, while defender
Cameron Knowles
was voted to the second team. Also, 14 different Timbers players earned a total of 34 USL First Division Team of the Week nominations.




Two members of the Timbers organization are finalists for annual league honors. Wilkinson is one of four finalists for the Coach of the Year, and Hayes is also one of four finalists for the league’s Defender of the Year award. The recipient of each award will be announced by United Soccer Leagues during the USL First Division championship series.




Wilkinson, who also serves as the Timbers’ general manager, met with players earlier this week and will conduct team and player reviews in the coming days. The team has a handful of players already under contract for the 2010 season including Pore and midfielder
Tony McManus
.




Season tickets and ticket packages are currently available for the Timbers’ 2010 USL First Division season. The Timbers are also accepting season-ticket deposits for their inaugural 2011 MLS season. To purchase season tickets for the 2010 season, or to make a $50 per-seat deposit towards 2011 MLS season tickets, call the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555 or visit
www.portlandtimbers.com
.