Timbers set for trip to Minnesota Saturday

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers head to Blaine, Minn., to take on the Minnesota Thunder at the National Sports Center on Saturday at 5:05 p.m. (Pacific) for the final match of the regular-season series between the two clubs.
Portland will face Minnesota (5-9-4, 20pts) without defender Justin Thompson, midfielder Shaun Higgins and forward Chris Brown due to league-imposed disciplinary action. Both Thompson and Higgins are serving a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation after receiving their fifth caution of the season on July 19. Brown is serving a one-game suspension for his red card against the Carolina RailHawks on July 24.
Joining the Timbers (5-7-8, 23pts) for Saturday’s match are forwards Byron Alvarez and Bryan Jordan. Alvarez, who signed with the Timbers on July 22, received international clearance earlier this week and is now eligible for league play. Jordan rejoins the club on loan from Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy for the remainder of the 2008 season.
A live broadcast of Saturday’s match will be available online at www.portlandtimbers.com; with a live video webcast available through USL Live at www.usllive.com.
The Timbers make their only regular-season trip to Minnesota on Saturday as the two sides play each other for the third time this season. In their two previous meetings, the Timbers are 1-0-1 against the Thunder, including a 2-1 victory at PGE Park on April 24. Since 2001, the Timbers are 10-5-10 against the Thunder, including a 5-2-5 mark in Minnesota. The Timbers recorded a pair of draws in two matches in Minnesota last season and have not lost on the road to the Thunder since 2003.  
The Timbers, who picked up their ninth shutout of the season in a scoreless draw against Carolina, are in a two-way tie for sixth place in the USL First Division with Miami FC at 23 points.
Minnesota plays host to the Timbers on Saturday as part of a seven-match homestand at the National Sports Center. In their last match, the Puerto Rico Islanders rattled off three unanswered second-half goals to hand the Thunder a 3-2 loss at home on July 27. Since head coach Amos Magee stepped down from his position on July 22, Minnesota is 1-1-0, including a 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders on July 24 – the team’s first win since May 28. Forward Melvin Tarley paces the team with six goals on the season. Minnesota is 4-3-2 at home this season.
The Timbers road match against the Montreal Impact on Aug. 27 has been moved to Monday, Sept. 8 at 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) to accommodate the Impact’s new CONCACAF Champions League schedule. The match will still be held at Saputo Stadium.