Timbers host Carolina for a second game Saturday

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers play host to the Carolina RailHawks in a pair of games this week at PGE Park, including the Timbers’ home opener on Thursday. The two sides meet again on Saturday; kickoff for both matches is set for 7 p.m.
The first 2,000 fans for Thursday’s Opening Night presented by PGE receive a 2009 magnet schedule and a Tursi’s fan scroll. On Saturday, the first 2,000 fans receive a Timbers poster courtesy of Cricket Wireless. Tickets start at $11 and are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.
After starting the 2009 campaign on the road, the Timbers kick off their 15-match, regular-season home schedule on Thursday against Carolina. Portland has won their last two home openers, capturing wins over the Puerto Rico Islanders to begin each of the 2007 and 2008 home slates. The Timbers are 5-2-1 in their seasonal PGE Park debut since 2001.
The Timbers (0-1-0, 0pts) and RailHawks have met twice at PGE Park since Carolina joined the USL First Division in 2007, with both matches ending in a scoreless draw; Portland is 1-2-2 all-time against Carolina. This week features two of the three regular-season meetings between the Timbers and RailHawks in 2009. Portland visits Carolina on June 11.
The RailHawks play their first road matches of the season this week in Portland. Starting off the season with three straight wins, Carolina currently sits at the top of the USL First Division with an undefeated record of 3-0-0 (9pts). With their two games against the Timbers this week, the RailHawks will ultimately play three matches within a seven-day period.
Thursday’s contest is the first of seven Timbers’ home matches at PGE Park broadcast live throughout the Northwest on FSN. Both matches will be broadcast live online at www.portlandtimbers.com; live video webcasts are available through USL Live – now a free service at www.usllive.com.
Entering their third season in the USL First Division, the RailHawks feature several changes from 2008. Over the off-season, Carolina hired new head coach Martin Rennie, who guided the Cleveland City Stars to the 2008 USL Second Division title and was named the USL Second Division Coach of the Year in 2007. The club also signed a host of new players, including former Timbers midfielder Luke Kreamalmeyer, former Seattle Sounders midfielder Josh Gardner and 2008 USL Second Division Defender of the Year, Mark Schulte. Carolina has opened the 2009 season on a three-game winning streak, defeating the Rochester Rhinos and Minnesota Thunder at home. Carolina had two members selected to the USL First Division Team of the Week for Week 3 – midfielder Brian Plotkin and defender John Gilkerson. Earlier this week, the team signed former UCLA standout Brad Rusin. Following their road trip to Portland, the RailHawks return home to face the Charleston Battery on May 9.