Timbers to host Premiership-bound Burnley July 25

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers announced today that they will play host to recently promoted English Premier League club Burnley FC on Saturday, July 25, at PGE Park at 7 p.m. Burnley earned promotion into the Premier League with a recent playoff victory over Sheffield United.

Under second-year manager Owen Coyle, Burnley finished the 2008-09 season with a record of 21-12-13 to secure a position in the promotional playoff. Burnley defeated Sheffield United 1-0 on Monday in the promotional final to earn a spot in the Premier League next season and will face England’s top clubs, including Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Tickets for the Timbers exhibition match against Burnley will go on sale to the public Friday, June 5, at 10 a.m. through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Ticket details, including prices, exhibition-ticket packages and group rates, will be announced a later date.

“The opportunity to play against a club and a group of players that are preparing to play at one of the highest levels in the world is exciting and a great challenge for our club,” said Timbers general manager and head coach Gavin Wilkinson. “As one of its preseason matches, Burnley will be making the final preparations for the Premier League season, which sets the stage for a very competitive match.”

Burnley’s roster is highlighted by former Manchester United midfielder Chris Eagle and last season’s leading scorer and Northern Ireland National Team member, Martin Patterson. Its roster also features several national team players from throughout Europe, including two from Scotland - defender Steven Caldwell and forward Steven Thompson.

Last season, Burnley played 61 total matches, including regular-season fixtures, playoffs and cup matches, and defeated top-flight English clubs Arsenal, Fullham and Chelsea in cup play. One of the founding members of England’s Football League in 1888, Burnley has claimed every major honor in English soccer except for the League Cup and returns to England’s top league next season for the first time since 1976.

The Timbers have played three teams from England since 2005, including Premier League-bound Sunderland AFC in 2005 at PGE Park. Portland has also squared off against Coventry City (2006) and Preston North End (2007). The Timbers are 1-0-2 against English clubs since 2001.

Burnley will mark the Timbers’ third international exhibition opponent in 2009. The Timbers exhibition schedule begins Sunday when they play host to Mexico’s Club Americá reserves at PGE Park at 5 p.m. presented by Tecate.