Timbers battle defending-champ Whitecaps Thursday

PORTLAND, Ore.  – The Portland Timbers face the defending USL First Division-champion Vancouver Whitecaps on Thursday at PGE Park; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Thursday’s match between the Northwest rivals is the first of three meetings in 2007 and will be televised live on FSN Northwest.
Portland’s match against Vancouver (7-5-6, 27pts) begins a stretch of three games in four days which also includes a road trip to Atlanta and Charleston on July 21 and July 22.
The Timbers (9-2-3, 30pts) moved into first place in the USL First Division with a 4-1 win over the California Victory on Sunday at PGE Park. Against the Victory, the Timbers set a new franchise record for minutes played without allowing a goal – 388 minutes.
Led by goalkeeper Josh Wicks, the Timbers defense has allowed the fewest goals in the league (8) and has helped Portland maintain an unbeaten record (6-0-3) at PGE Park. The Timbers have assembled a five-game winning streak and have outscored opponents 10-1 over the last five matches.
Vancouver was 2-0-2 against the Timbers last season on their way to the USL First Division championship. Since 2001, the Timbers are 6-14-4 against the Whitecaps.
Tickets, starting at $10, are available at the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com and by phone at (503) 224-4400. The first 2,000 fans on Thursday will receive a t-shirt courtesy of FSN.
The Whitecaps have lost three straight and are winless in their last six matches, five of those being played on the road. The Whitecaps have only scored three goals in their last seven matches but remain in third place in the USL First Division.

Forward Eduardo Sebrango has scored seven of Vancouver’s 19 goals on the season and is tied for the league lead in that category.
The Whitecaps signed goalkeeper Lutz Pfannenstiel in early July to fill the absence of starting goalkeeper Tony Caig, who left the team for personal reasons. Caig was 6-2-3 with three shutouts and recorded an 0.82 goals-against average in 11 matches with the Whitecaps. Since Caig’s departure, Vancouver is 1-3-3.