Timbers head north to face Seattle Saturday

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers make the trip north to face the Seattle Sounders Saturday at Qwest Field at 7 p.m. The two sides square off in the first of three meetings during the 2007 USL First Division season. Saturday’s match also marks the first of six Cascadia Cup matches this season.

The Timbers (1-0-0, 3pts) are 10-13-3 against the Sounders since 2001, when the Timbers joined the USL First Division. Last season, the Timbers were 1-2-1 against Seattle. The lone win was a 3-1 victory at PGE Park on June 3.

The Timbers vs. Sounders match will be broadcast live on www.portlandtimbers.com or can be viewed on USL Live at www.usllive.com.

The rivalry between the two sides grows even deeper this season with key players from each of the team’s 2006 squads switching clubs. Timbers midfielder Andrew Gregor spent a majority of his career with the Sounders and helped Seattle capture the 2005 USL First Division championship. Gregor led the Sounders in assists last season with five. The Timbers’ all-time assist leader, midfielder Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, signed with the Sounders during the off-season and currently leads Seattle in assists with two.

The Cascadia Cup is an annual derby between the Vancouver Whitecaps, Sounders and Timbers. The team with the best record in head-to-head regular-season matches captures the award. The Sounders won the 2006 Cascadia Cup.

The Timbers are coming off of a two-week break following their 3-1 win over the Puerto Rico Islanders on April 21 at PGE Park. Gregor notched two goals in the contest to make the USL First Division Team of the Week. Midfielder Tom Poltl made his 100th USL First Division appearance, entering the Puerto Rico match in the 85th minute as a sub.

With his two goals, Gregor remains among league leaders in goals and points (4).

New Timbers defender Justin Thompson arrived in Portland Monday and has attended training this week. He joined the Timbers from Worcester City FC in England upon the conclusion of the 2006-07 season. The North Vancouver, B.C., native played the last two seasons in England with Worcester City.

The Sounders (0-2-1, 1pt) were 0-1-1 last weekend on a trip through Miami and Puerto Rico. Forwards Nathan Knox and Roger Levesque each scored in a 3-2 loss to Miami April 28. The Sounders and Puerto Rico drew 0-0 April 29.

The Sounders have played their first three matches of the 2007 season on the road. Seattle started the season with a 1-0 loss to Vancouver on April 21. Saturday marks their first home match. In three games, the Sounders have scored just two goals.

Recording two assists against Miami, Alcaraz-Cuellar is now among league leaders in that category. Seattle goalkeeper Chris Eylander is tied for the league lead in saves with 13, and his clean sheet against Puerto Rico places him in an eight-way tie for the league lead in shutouts.

The Timbers face Mexico’s Club Necaxa in their next home match on May 9 at PGE Park. Necaxa is scheduled to face Uruguay’s Nacional de Montevideo in the second round of the Copa Libertadores. The two clubs begin the two-game, home-and-home series May 3 in Montevideo, Uruguay. The second match will be held at Estadio Victoria in Aguascalientes, Mexico, May 10.

Tickets for the Necaxa versus Timbers match start at $14 and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (503) 224-4400. For more information, visit www.portlandtimbers.com.

Gregor and goalkeeper Bayard Elfvin were selected by US Soccer to attend a training camp with the U.S. Futsal National Team as they prepare for the 2007 Pan-American Games.

“Andrew and Bayard are extremely honored to have been invited to participate in a training camp for the U.S. Futsal National Team as they prepare for the 2007 Pan-American Games,” said Timbers head coach and general manager Gavin Wilkinson. “Since we are in the early stages of the season with several games in May, both players have made the commitment to the Timbers organization and will not attend the May training camp.”