Suzuki named USL-1 Player of the Week

PORTLAND, Ore.With a three-point performance against the Seattle Sounders this weekend, Portland Timbers forward Takayuki Suzuki was named the USL First Fist Division Player of the Week for Week 2, it was announced today by United Soccer Leagues. Additionally, midfielder Shaun Higgins, defender Scot Thompson and goalkeeper Ray Burse earned Team of the Week honors.
Suzuki, 31, recorded a goal and an assist in the Timbers’ 2-0 win over Seattle on April 26 at PGE Park. He found his first goal of the season in the sixth minute with a 22-yard shot from the top right corner of the box to give Portland a 1-0 lead. Late in the match, Suzuki set up midfielder Miguel Guante’s 76th minute strike.
A 2002 World Cup participant with the Japanese National Team, Suzuki has started each of the team’s first three matches in 2008. This is his first Player of the Week selection.
Higgins, 29, delivered the Timbers’ game-winning goal in a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Thunder on April 24 at PGE Park. Along the left post, Higgins finished a cross by midfielder Andrew Gregor in the 66th minute to earn his second career USL First Division Team of the Week selection. It was his first goal since the 2005 season.
Burse, 23, tallied eight saves, including six against Seattle, to record two wins last week over Seattle and Minnesota. On loan from FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, Burse has a 0.33 goals-against average, two shutouts and 11 saves through the first three matches of the 2008 season.
Thompson, 27, captured his first Team of the Week honors of the 2008 season with noteworthy performances against Seattle and Minnesota. An all-league selection in 2007, Thompson and the Timbers backline allowed just one goal in two matches last week. Last season, he was a part of Portland’s defense that led the league in fewest goals allowed – 18 in 28 matches.
The Timbers, who currently sit in first place in the USL First Division with a record of 3-0-0 (9pts), face the Rochester Raging Rhinos on May 8 at PGE Park at 7 p.m. Tickets, starting at $11, are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at or by phone at (503) 224-4400.