Timbers acquire Chris Seitz on loan from Real Salt Lake

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced the club has acquired goalkeeper Chris Seitz on loan from Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake as the result of a minor injury to starter Steve Cronin Wednesday. On loan through Saturday, Seitz will be available for the Timbers home opener Thursday against Carolina at PGE Park.

Cronin sustained a mild ankle injury during training Wednesday as the Timbers prepared for their two matches against the Carolina RailHawks this week at PGE Park. Cronin will be re-evaluated Friday and could return to the field as early as Saturday for the Timbers’ second match against the RailHawks.

“Steve has been terrific in his first few months with the Timbers,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager and head coach. “To lose him to injury at this stage of the season is obviously a set back. With tonight’s home opener, the coaching staff felt it was important to have a goalkeeper with experience on the field. Chris has outstanding credentials for a young goalkeeper, and we feel he is the right player to fill-in in this situation.”

Seitz, along with Timbers’ first-year goalkeeper Brian Visser, will make up the team’s goalkeeping unit for Thursday’s match.

“Brian has been fantastic in preseason and is a goalkeeper we rate very highly,” said Wilkinson. “We have developed a lot of confidence in him and his ability as he progresses. With his limited experience at the professional level, we felt it was in the best interest of Brian’s development, along with the nature of these two games, to bring Chris in this week.”

Seitz, 22, is in his third season with Real Salt Lake. He was selected fourth overall in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft and became the second-youngest goalkeeper in MLS history to make his professional debut on April 30, 2007. In two seasons with Real Salt Lake, Seitz has made three starts for the first team and played in an additional 17 matches in the MLS Reserve Division. A member of the U.S. U-23 National Team, he missed a month of the 2008 MLS season while at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Seitz, a native of San Luis Obispo, Calif., has been a part of the U.S. National Team at the U-18, U-20 and U-23 levels. He has participated in senior U.S. National Team camps on several occasions, most recently in June 2008 as the team prepared for a World Cup Qualifier against Barbados. In 2007, he guided the U.S. U-20s to the semifinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, recording wins over Poland and Brazil.

Seitz played two collegiate seasons at the University of Maryland, where he posted a 28-5-3 record and guided the Terrapins to the NCAA College Cup title as a freshman in 2005.

The Timbers face the RailHawks Thursday at PGE Park at 7 p.m. The first 2,000 fans on Opening Night, presented by PGE, receive a 2009 magnet schedule and Tursi’s fan scroll. 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.