Timbers Notebook: Timbers begin preseason preparations

Today in Portland: The Portland Timbers got their pre-season under way with two exhibition matches at Merlo Field on the campus of the University of Portland.

The first match started around 11:15 a.m. when the Timbers faced off against Seattle University. The teams played two 30-minute halves, with a five minute halftime. Then, after only a ten-minute turnaround, the Timbers took on the University of Washington at 12:30 p.m.

Portland got off to a great start, winning the first game 2-0 on goals from Oral Bullen and Drew McAthy. However, the University of Washington proved to be a tougher opponent and the Timbers only managed a 1-1 draw, the lone goal of the second game coming from new signing Troy Ready.

New In Town: New signings Ready, Josh Brown, Mike Randolph and Devin Zimmerman were among the players to take the field for the games. Other signed players taking part in the exhibitions were: Bullen, McAthy, Michael Nsien, Scot Thompson, Josh Saunders, Tom Poltl, Lee Morrison, Luke Kreamalmeyer and Jacobi Goodfellow.

Defender Salim Bullen was not in attendance and returning midfielder Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar was present, but did not dress for either game.

Trial By Fire: Many of the players donning the Timbers green were actually trialists hoping to make the first team. Timbers head coach and general manager Chris Agnello was very pleased with their performances, saying that he was impressed with the quality of play on the field.

"Our signed guys played very, very well today and that's great to see on the first day," said Agnello. "We also had 15 trialists here, and from what I've seen today, we're going to be very interested in signing at least two of them."

Practice Makes Perfect: With the opening of the pre-season, the Timbers now begin their normal training routine, which is every day from 10 a.m. until 12 noon.

To get them into game shape for their regular season opener, the Timbers also have exhibition matches planned for April 12 at Oregon State and April 15 at the University of Portland.

Portland kicks off its sixth USL First Division season on Saturday, April 22, against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Swangard Stadium. The Timbers open up the home portion of their season by playing host to the Whitecaps at PGE Park on Friday, May 5. A variety of season ticket options are available by calling the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555. For ticket information, go to www.portlandtimbers.com.