Timbers open 2008 season against Puerto Rico

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers kick off the 2008 USL First Division season Thursday as they play host to the Puerto Rico Islanders at PGE Park at 7 p.m. On Thursday, the Timbers will honor long-time team icon Jim Serrill on Timber Jim Retirement Night.
Serrill, better known as “Timber Jim,” announced his retirement from the organization in January after serving as the team’s icon for the better part of 12 seasons (1978-83; 2001-07). Starting in 1978 when the Timbers were members of the North American Soccer League, Serrill has become known for his high-wire acts around PGE Park and the tradition of sawing log slabs to help celebrate goals scored by the Timbers. A special halftime ceremony will highlight the career of the Northwest legend.
The first 1,000 fans Thursday receive a Farewell Timber Jim T-shirt courtesy of Shindaiwa. Also on Opening Night, the first 2,000 fans receive a 2008 schedule magnet presented by PGE.
The Timbers are 3-4-0 in season-opening matches since they joined United Soccer Leagues in 2001. Last season, the Timbers defeated the Islanders 3-1 on April 21 at PGE Park to start the year. All-time, the Timbers are 4-3-0 against Puerto Rico and have not lost to the Islanders in four matches at PGE Park. Last season, the Timbers were 1-1-0 against Puerto Rico.
Tickets, starting at $11, are available at the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400.
A live broadcast of the match is available through www.portlandtimbers.com or in Spanish on “La X” 1040 AM. A live online video broadcast is available through USL Live at www.usllive.com.
The Portland Timbers reached the USL First Division semifinals in 2007 after finishing the regular season with a 14-5-9 (51pts) record. Last season, the Timbers assembled an unbeaten record (8-0-6) during the regular season at PGE Park, and have not lost a home match since Sept. 7, 2006 to the Atlanta Silverbacks. Following one of the Timbers most successful seasons since joining the USL First Division, head coach Gavin Wilkinson was named the league’s 2007 Coach of the Year and the FieldTurf Coach of the Year for the USL First Division. The Timbers have 13 players from the 2007 roster returning for the 2008 campaign, including All-League selections Andrew Gregor, Scot Thompson and Cameron Knowles.
Since joining the USL First Division in 2001, the Timbers are 4-2-1 in their first game of the season at PGE Park.
Puerto Rico enters its fifth season in the USL First Division in 2008. Last season, the Islanders were 10-8-10 (40pts) and reached the league semifinals, losing to the eventual-champion Seattle Sounders on penalty kicks. Puerto Rico was 3-6-5 on the road in 2007.
The Islanders 2008 roster features two former Timbers in midfielders Noah Delgado (2002) and Edwin Miranda (2004-06). Returning midfielder Victor Herrera finished the 2007 season among league leaders with four assists.