Timbers prepare for Rochester, Seattle this week

PORTLAND, Ore.Following a 12-day break, the Portland Timbers play two matches in three days as they face the Rochester Rhinos on Thursday at PGE Park at 7 p.m., and then and travel north to face the Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field on Saturday.
The Timbers (3-0-0, 9pts) have opened the 2008 campaign with three consecutive wins at PGE Park to take an early lead in the USL First Division.
Tickets for Thursday’s match start at $11 and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400. A live broadcast of both matches can be heard at www.portlandtimbers.com or watched online through USL Live at www.usllive.com.   
Portland faces Rochester (0-2-0, 0pts) on Thursday at PGE Park in its only visit to the Rose City during the regular season. Thursday’s match marks the final game in a stretch of four home matches to start the year for the Timbers. Last season, the Timbers captured their first win over Rochester since 2001 with a 2-0 shutout on May 13 at PGE Park. All-time, Portland is 1-6-1 against Rochester.
The Timbers hit the road for the first time in 2008 on Saturday as they travel to face the Sounders (1-1-1, 4pts) at Qwest Field at 7 p.m. Last week, the Timbers captured a 2-0 win over their Northwest rivals on goals by Takayuki Suzuki and Miguel Guante at PGE Park to earn points in the Cascadia Cup race. Saturday’s match marks Seattle’s first home game of the season and only regular-season match played at Qwest Field in 2008. In 2007, the Timbers were 6-5-3 on the road.
The Timbers announced today the club has signed goalkeeper Steve Reese and midfielder Tom Taylor for the 2008 season, pending USSF approval. Both were members of the Timbers in 2007.
Forward Chris Brown currently sits among league leaders with two goals and five points through the first three games of the season, ranking second in each category. Midfielder Andrew Gregor played in his 175th career USL First Division match against Seattle on April 26 at PGE Park.
Rochester opens the 2008 USL First Division with five consecutive road matches, and all five matches coming within a 13-day span. Over the weekend, the Rhinos suffered consecutive losses to the Charleston Battery and Minnesota Thunder. Following their game in Portland, they’ll continue their swing through the Northwest, facing the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday and Seattle on May 14. Rochester’s roster features several new faces, including former Timbers midfielder Luke Kreamalmeyer and veteran USL First Division striker Mauricio Salles.
Seattle picked up a 2-0 win, its first of the 2008 season, against the Atlanta Silverbacks over the weekend in a rematch of the 2007 USL First Division final in Atlanta. Midfielder Leighton O’Brien and defender Taylor Graham were each selected to the USL First Division Team of the Week for Week 3 with their individual efforts against Atlanta. With three consecutive road matches to start the season, the Sounders host the Timbers for the final time as a member of the USL First Division on Saturday to open their 2008 home schedule. Last season, Seattle was 9-3-2 at home, including two wins over Portland.