Timbers sign new 'keeper

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers (5-7-0) announced Wednesday that starting goalkeeper Curtis Spiteri is leaving the team to try out for a club in Germany. Josh Saunders, on loan from San Jose for the remainder of the season, will replace Spiteri. The switch comes as the Timbers prepare for Friday's match vs. divisional rival Calgary at PGE Park.

Saunders is on loan to the Timbers from the Earthquakes of MLS and has been working out with the team this week in preparation for the Calgary match.

"Josh Saunders comes to the Timbers highly recommended by the coaching staff of San Jose. He is a ready-made replacement for Curtis Spiteri," said head coach Bobby Howe. "We expect to see him make his first appearance for the Timbers on Friday against Calgary."

A native of Grants Pass, Saunders (6-3, 210 lbs) was drafted 36th overall by the Earthquakes in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. The Cal-Berkley graduate was the first goalkeeper to be voted Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2002 as he led the conference with 10 shutouts.

Spiteri, who is pursuing tryouts with Karlsruher S.C. of the German Second Division, left last Friday for a two-week trial and it is not known if and when he will return to the team.

"It is the Timbers' policy to provide players opportunities to play at a higher level and would never stand in their way," said Howe. "This tryout represents a wonderful opportunity for Curtis to exhibit his skills on an international stage."

Spiteri has started all but two matches for the Timbers this season, registering 40 saves.

Calgary (4-7-2) is just one point behind Portland after tying its last match against Seattle, 1-1. Portland won the first two contests between the two clubs before Calgary rebounded to win the third, 2-1.

In the Timbers' five victories this season, they have outscored their opponents 11-3, with two shutouts. On the flip side, the Timbers have been outscored by a margin of 15-2 in their seven losses while being shut out five times.

All three of Byron Alvarez's goals this season have come in his last four matches.

At 5-7-0, the Timbers have improved their record from last season, when they were 3-7-2 through 12 matches.

The league has denied Jimmy Conway's appeal of the six-game suspension for the red card he received in the June 7 El Paso match. The suspension is effective starting on Friday. Jake Sagare will serve out his one-game suspension Friday for the red card he received vs. Milwaukee on June 8. Adam Wilson could see his first action Friday after missing the entire season with a sore Achilles tendon. Gavin Wilkinson will also be back with the team for this Friday's match after a stint with the New Zealand National Team in the Confederation's Cup.

The Portland Timbers are again working with the local youth soccer community this summer, holding a day camp from July 14-16 at PGE Park. The Timbers are also conducting individual and small group clinics, as well as a high school soccer preparation clinic, which mixes professional soccer players with professional health and fitness instructors. Times and locations for camps vary. Call 503-553-5444 for details.

Catch all of Friday's action live with Andy McNamara on KKPZ AM-1330 and OregonLive.com at 7 p.m.