PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers have signed two midfielders, Shaun Higgins and Tom Poltl, as training camp winds down and the 2005 season opener at PGE Park against Toronto on Saturday draws closer.
MIDFIELD, PLUS TWO
Higgins, 26, and Poltl, 27, join the Timbers out of training camp after spending the 2004 season playing for the PDL's Orange County Blue Star. A teammate of Portland goalkeeper Josh Saunders at Cal State-Fullerton, Higgins finished his collegiate career with 34 points (13g, 8a). Poltl also has a Portland connection, winning the 1997 NCAA National Championship at UCLA with former Timber McKinley Tennyson. Poltl spent the past three campaigns at Orange County as a player-coach and previously played two seasons for the A-League's Boston Bulldogs.
LINES DUE IN PORTLAND FRIDAY
New Zealand international Aaran Lines, who signed with the Timbers this off-season, has been approved for a visa and will arrive in Portland on Friday afternoon from Germany, where he has been living. Lines will be available for Saturday's match against Toronto if needed and looks forward to his first-ever trip to the U.S. mainland. "It's the first preseason I've ever missed," Lines said. "I'm excited to meet the guys and get acclimated. I've also been doing my research and heard Portland is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States."
SEASON OPENER ON SATURDAY
The Timbers kick off their fifth campaign in United Soccer Leagues' First Division this Saturday, April 23, at 7 p.m. against the Toronto Lynx. It's the first of 14 league home games this year at PGE Park and also marks Toronto's debut visit to the Rose City. The first 1,000 entrants Saturday will receive a complementary Timbers magnet schedule, courtesy of PGE. Tickets are available at area Ticketmaster outlets or at the PGE Park box office.
Sunderland AFC played Ipswich to a 2-2 draw on Sunday in its bid for promotion to the English Premier League. Sunderland, which takes on the Timbers at PGE Park on July 23, currently sits atop the English League Championship, three points clear of second-place Wigan and five points clear of third-place Ipswich with three matches remaining. The top two clubs receive automatic promotion to the Premiership, while a third team is admitted by way of a playoff.
Former Timber Mark Baena is finding fame in a different way altogether after retiring from the sport. Baena's wife, Michelle Baena, is the cover girl of the latest May issue of Playboy, titled "Real Desperate Housewives." For the record, Mark Baena led the Timbers in scoring for 2001 with 13 goals.
TIMBERS 2, PILOTS 1
The Timbers played their final exhibition of the preseason on Monday, defeating the University of Portland 2-1 at Merlo Field. Byron Alvarez tallied from close range in the first half and trialist Ben DeSanno headed in a ball from Scot Thompson in the second to give Portland the 2-1 decision.
SEASON TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE
Season tickets, club seats, group packages, party suites, flex plans and mini-plans for the 2005 campaign are currently on sale. Timbers' ticket plans start as low as $77.00 and are available by contacting the team's ticket office at (503) 553-5555.
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