Date:Friday July 24 2009
The Clarets take on the Portland Timbers on Saturday night in the second and final game of their US Tour but what do we know about them?
Portland Timbers are an American professional soccer team based in Portland, Oregon on the US West Coast. Founded in 2001, the team plays in the USL First Division and will be admitted to the MLS (Major League Soccer) division in 2011. They play their home games at PGE Park, and have done so since 2003. The ground is shared with the baseball team, the Portland Beavers and is an Astroturf pitch.
The team's colors are green and white and their current general manager and head coach is New Zealander Gavin Wilkinson.
The Timbers have taken their league by storm this season and have now set a club record of going 17 games undefeated. They sit proudly at the top of the First Division table and will certainly be a more difficult challenge than PDL side, VC Fusion. The Clarets of course convincingly beat the Fusion 5-0 in Ventura last Tueday night.
In Timbers last match earlier in the week against second-place team Puerto Rico Islanders a crowd of 14,000 watched a goalless draw. The game on Saturday is billed as an 'International Exhibition Match' and should therefore attract quite a large audience.
Owen Coyle is likely to rest a number of his players and we could see a number of the players that missed out against VC Fusion feature against Timbers.
I would suspect therefore we could see the return of Steven Caldwell, Tyrone Mears, Clarke Carlisle, Graham Alexander and Christian Kalvenes at some point in the game. All these defenders sat out the last match against VC Fusion.
Martin Paterson could also return after sitting out the Fusion game with a tight hamstring. He could in fact replace our new record signing, Steven Fletcher who although starting against Fusion also suffered from a tight hamstring being replaced in our last match on the hour mark.
The Man of the Match against Fusion was arguably the lively, impressive trialist, Ecuador International and former Real Madrid Reserves midfielder, Fernando Guerrero. Owen Coyle could be prepared to sign the 19 year old soon according to media reports this week but might just be tempted to see him play once more, this time against the Timbers before making a final decision.
Our cute mascot, Bertie Bee must be wondering if a sting is going to be enough tonight after no doubt hearing back home that the Timbers mascot is someone called 'Timber Joey'
The chap dresses up like a lumberjack and Chainsaw massacre- style wields the buzzing blade up and down the pitch! Ouch, maybe our own Timber Joey, Joey Gudjonsson can fell the Timbers with some of his long-distance shots.
Oh well another night for bleary eyed Clarets back home to listen to the game at 3am in the morning (7pm kick-off local time). There will be an audio broadcast on the portlandtimbers.com website (see our earlier article for details)
Date:Friday July 24 2009
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