It's match day and the Timbers face off against Carolina on the road, then Charleston on Saturday. Since I'm on the road tomorrow to Central Oregon, doing my previews now:
Match particulars – Carolina
Game starts at 4 PM PT at WakeMed Soccer Park. Apparently, they aren't playing in the main stadium, but in a practice field on the complex, as WakeMed is similar to S**kfire in its setup.
You can listen to the game by visiting the Portland Timbers website (http://www.portlandtimbers.com/) and finding the live web broadcast with Andy McNamara, or watch it on USL Live (http://www.usllive.com/) for free.
In the Portland area, you can watch the match live at the Rogue Pub in NW Portland, the Cheerful Bullpen near PGE Park, and Beulahland in SE Portland.
Match Particulars - Charleston
Game starts at 4:30 PM PT at Blackbaud Stadium, one of the nicer parks in the USL.
You can listen to the game by by visiting the Portland Timbers website (http://www.portlandtimbers.com/) and finding the live web broadcast with Andy McNamara, watch it on USL Live (http://www.usllive.com/) for free, or listen to 955 The Game in Portland for John Strong's call (95.5 fm or http://www.955thegame.com/)
In the Portland area, you can watch the match live at the Rogue Pub in NW Portland, the Cheerful Bullpen near PGE Park, St. John's Pub in N Portland and Beulahland in SE Portland. You can also find folks watching the match in Bend, OR at the Old St. Francis School.
Timbers V. RailHawks - Previous meetings were here in Portland on April 30th and May 2nd in PGE Park. The Timbers and RailHawks drew in the first match in a scoreless affair, but then the Timbers got goals from Brian Farber and Ryan Pore to beat the RailHawks on May 2nd 2 to nil. The Timbers are 2 - 2 - 3 against Carolina, getting one win at home and one on the road in the team's brief game history. The Timbers have never lost to Carolina at home, getting a win and the 3 draws at PGE, while having a 1 and 2 record in Cary.
Portland team status - Tony McManus is not on the trip apparently after sustaining a shoulder injury in the Tuesday US Open Cup match, and Ryan Pore has a knee ligament strain which will keep him out for a bit. Johan Claesson is also day to day with an undisclosed ailment. This is the Timbers second of 4 matches in the next week, as they travel to Charleston on Saturday then Sonoma, CA next Tuesday for the Open Cup. The team's depth will be tested over this stretch. Ryan Pore leads the team with 3 goals, while Brian Farber has 2 assists to lead the team. The Timbers are 5 - 1 - 3 overall with 10 goals scored and 4 goals allowed.
Carolina team status - The RailHawks also played Tuesday against Richmond in the Open Cup, getting a win, and then they get the Timbers tonight before they head on the road to face Minnesota on Sunday, then come back home to face Wilmington in the next round of the Open Cup. I couldn't find any major injury news, and really the only issue that is known right now is with the field as noted above. Carolina has three players with 2 goals each, former Timber Luke Kreamelmeyer, Gavin Glinton and Daniel Paladini, while Paladini has 3 assists to lead the team. The RailHawks sit in second place in the USL Division 1 table at 7 - 1 - 2, with their only loss of the year in PGE Park. However, their seven wins have been against some of the lower teams on the table - Minnesota and Cleveland twice.
Timbers V. Charleston - First meeting of the year between the two old time USL rivals. The Timbers have a 4 - 6 - 1 record versus the Battery, getting 3 of the wins at home (3 - 2 - 1), while winning in Charleston only once (1 - 4 - 0) overall. Charleston has a great fan base, and it's usually a loud environment. Charleston visits PGE Park on August 8th, while the Timbers come back to Blackbaud on August 28th.
Timbers Team Status - Same as above, unless something happens on Thursday. Which it won't.
Charleston Team Status - The Battery last played on Tuesday in the Open Cup, beating the Atlanta PDL team, and so they will have nearly 4 days of rest before facing the Timbers before they face their next open cup opponent, the Miami FC Blues on Tuesday. The Battery are top of the table right now, with a 6 - 0 - 5 record. Yes, they haven't lost yet, they've only won or drew. What is interesting is that they have 3 road wins and 3 away wins, and they've faced Montreal at home and away and drew both, while beating Miami at home and on the road. It seems like Charleston has played well against varied competition, but then again, they always seem to have a strong, balanced team. Darren Spicer and Frankie Sanfilippo lead the team with 2 goals, but there have been 9 Charleston players that have notched a goal, while Tyler Hemming leads the team with 3 assists and veteran Dusty Hudock mans the goal.
Predictions - The Timbers should be happy if they get 4 points on the trip, and I think their best chance to win would be tonight, against a Carolina team that while they play physically at home, are prone to give up goals if they are matched in intensity. Plus, we've played well against Carolina this year so far. I believe that we get the win versus them 2 to 1, while we play for the draw in Charleston and the game ends up 1 to 1 in a well played, back and forth affair.
MLS Update - The Oregon House passed the MLS Bill 2531, which would be an extension of an existing bill passed a few years ago for the MLB effort. The bill would target a portion of salaries for MLS Timber employees and players of all MLS teams that play in Portland, and a slice of that tax revenue would be directed towards helping pay for the MLS stadium change to PGE Park. You can learn more about the effort by following this link:
Cities and counties have been doing things like this for years, essentially targeting the people that work for the team or play in the stadium, and it's a small drop in the overall stadium budget. The bill now moves to the Oregon Senate, and if it passes, it will be sent to the Governor for signature. At this point, the Governor has indicated that he's not a huge fan of the bill and he may not sign it, but may allow it to pass without signature, which happens if the bill passes both chambers and he doesn't sign it within 5 days of passing. One more hurdle passed, but still a few left to go.
Talk to all next week, when I'm back from the Central Oregon road trip!!