Another Portland Timbers season in the books

PORTLAND, Ore.Another Portland Timbers season is in the books. Looking back at the 2008 USL First Division season, fans witnessed several Timbers reach career milestones, said goodbye to a legend and helped the club to another season of record-breaking attendance.

Timbers top attendance record for second straight season
For the second consecutive season, the Timbers set new marks for modern franchise attendance at PGE Park. For the first time since joining United Soccer Leagues in 2001, the Timbers cracked the 100,000 mark in attendance on their way to a modern-franchise record of 128,509 fans over 15 regular-season matches in 2008. The new modern-franchise high broke the previous record of 95,594 set in 2007. The Timbers three international exhibition matches at PGE Park attracted an additional 30,109 fans, bringing the club’s season totals to 158,618 at PGE Park in 2008.
The 2008 season also drew three of the Timbers largest crowds at PGE Park since 2001. The 13,050 on hand to watch the Timbers home finale against the Charleston Battery on Sept. 11 ranks fourth. The 12,332 fans from Portland’s final match against the Seattle Sounders on Aug. 7 ranks fifth and the exhibition match against Mexico’s Monarcas Morelia, which drew 11,932 fans, ranks seventh.  
Welcoming familiar faces and saying goodbye to a legend
Throughout the 2008 season, fans welcomed back to the Rose City a pair of familiar faces and said goodbye to a long-time legend “Timber” Jim Serrill. The date, April 21, 2008, was a memorable night for all Timbers fans. Not only was it the Timbers 2008 season opener against the Puerto Rico Islanders at PGE Park, but it was also the night the Timbers celebrated the retirement and career of Timber Jim. Announcing his retirement from the organization in January, Serrill ended his run as the Timbers’ official mascot and welcomed in Joey Webber.
During the second half of the season, forwards Bryan Jordan, on loan from Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, and Byron Alvarez, the club’s modern-franchise leading scorer, made their return to the Timbers and sparked the club to a handful of victories down the stretch. The two combined for four goals and three assists in 18 matches with Portland in 2008.
Rising to new heights
Several Timbers players reached career milestones over the course of the 2008 season. Most notably, defender Scot Thompson topped the 100 games played and 10,000 minutes played benchmarks in his career with the Timbers. With his career-high three assists in 2008, Thompson also joined modern-franchise career leaders in assists and points. Defender Cameron Knowles extended his streak of consecutive appearances in league games, which started in 2007, to 57 before a one-match, league-imposed suspension ended his run late in the year. Midfielder Shaun Higgins matched a career-high with his two goals during the season.
The new, expanded 30-game, regular-season schedule in 2008 also opened the door for Knowles to set a new record for minutes played in a single season at 2,610 minutes. He broke the previous record of 2,596 set in 2002 by Keith Costigan.
Timbers individual accomplishments recognized
The Timbers had 13 different players receive a total of 20 selections to the USL First Division Team of the Week throughout the 2008 season. Forward Chris Brown, Knowles and Jordan each led the team with three selections each. Jordan earned all three of his honors in consecutive weeks during the month of August. Forward Takayuki Suzuki was the only Portland player who took home the league’s Player of the Week honors with a three-point performance against the Seattle Sounders in April.
Both Suzuki and Alvarez received USL First Division Goal of the Week honors in 2008. Suzuki’s long-range shot inside the top far corner against Seattle in April and Alvarez’s third minute header against Miami FC on Sept. 4 at PGE Park were listed among the best strikes on the season.
Click here to view stats, match recaps and more from the club's 2008 season. The USL will announce the First Division all-league selections on Tuesday, Sept. 30.  
Head coach Gavin Wilkinson, who doubles as the club’s general manager, conducted a team meeting earlier this week and will hold player meetings in the coming days as he begins preparing for the 2009 season. The Timbers already have a core of veterans under contract for next season, including Knowles, Thompson, Brown and midfielders Bryan Little, Kiki Lara and Miguel Guante.
Information on 2009 season tickets will be available in the coming weeks. Fans interested in purchasing 2009 season tickets or ticket packages should contact the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555.