Timbers prep for battles with Seattle and L.A. Galaxy

PORTLAND, Ore. - With week two of training camp underway, the Portland Timbers are retaining six trial players heading into Saturday’s I-5 rivalry exhibition against the Seattle Sounders at PGE Park. The club also announced the re-signing of veteran defender Lee Morrison to the roster with one week remaining until the Galaxy arrives in Portland.

Head coach Bobby Howe and the Portland Timbers coaching staff have held on to six trialists in advance of this weekend’s exhibition against Seattle at PGE Park. In addition to Timbers signed under contract or expected to sign, the following players have made the first wave of cuts and remain in competition for a spot on the Portland roster: F Garen Bedoyan (Warner Pacific), F Joseph Beytebiere (Concordia), F Ben DeSanno (Willamette University), F Luc Harrington (UC-Riverside), M Shaun Higgins (Orange County Blue Star/Cal State-Fullerton) and M Tom Poltl (Orange County Blue Star/UCLA).

The Timbers retained the services of veteran defender Morrison, signing the Stanford product to a one-year contract this week. Morrison, 25, returns to the Portland club for a third season after spending the 2003-04 campaigns in the Rose City. “I’m excited to return to the Timbers for a third season,” Morrison said. “With the high quality of players in place from last year’s team, along with any new additions, the expectations and confidence should be high in our bid for a First Division championship.” Morrison broke the 2,000-minute mark in both seasons with the Timbers, appearing in 48 total matches while dishing two assists.

The Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS are coming to PGE Park on Wednesday, April 13, on the heels of their much-publicized signing of U.S. international star Landon Donovan from the German Bundesliga club, Bayer Leverkusen. The Galaxy dropped their first match of the season, 3-0 at Columbus on Saturday, as Donovan was held out of the match with the flu. Former Timbers standout Alan Gordon has seen considerable playing time this preseason with the Galaxy, scoring several goals in his exhibition appearances.

Individual tickets for both preseason exhibitions against the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy are now on sale at area Ticketmaster outlets and at the PGE Park box office. Portland takes on archrival Seattle on Saturday, April 9, at 7 p.m., and hosts the Galaxy of Major League Soccer on Wednesday, April 13, also at 7 p.m. Fans interested in group outings, season tickets or a variety of great mini-plan options should contact the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555.

Portland held two exhibition scrimmages this weekend at PGE Park as part of its collegiate scrimmage schedule. The Timbers gained a 2-1 result against the Seattle Pacific Falcons on Saturday and played to a 0-0 draw with the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Sunday. The Timbers will travel south to Corvallis on Wednesday, April 6, to take on the Oregon State Beavers at 3 p.m. in place of their usual daily training regimen.

Timbers midfielder Aaran Lines had his visa application accepted by the appropriate parties and is cleared for entry into the United States. Team officials are hopeful the New Zealand international will arrive in camp sometime next week.

Forwards Byron Alvarez and Fadi Afash were both held out of action Monday with injuries … Afash is recovering from a toe injury, while Alvarez is recuperating from bruised ribs suffered this weekend and won’t compete at Oregon State on Wednesday.

Timbers trialists Tom Poltl and Shaun Higgins join a bevy of players with connections to the club that have played for the Orange County Blue Star of the Premier Development League (PDL). The list includes three Timbers players (Josh Saunders, Shawn Saunders, McKinley Tennyson); three Timbers draft picks (Ryan Coiner, Leonard Griffin, Dan Kennedy); and another former trialist (Tim Pierce).