Rowdies at Portland
When/where: 8; PGE Park, Portland, Ore.
Online: fctampabay.com; portlandtimbers.com
The opponent: The Timbers (4-5-4) enter tonight's game with just one victory in their past nine matches, going 0-5-3 until a 2-0 win over Minnesota in their last league game on June 19. Including their most recent win, Portland has just five goals in its past nine games and was held scoreless five times. Tonight's game marks the first game in a three-match homestand that runs to July 10.
About the Timbers: The team's history parallels that of the Rowdies. Both franchises came into the original North American Soccer League in 1975 and squared off in the league title match in their inaugural seasons, with the Rowdies winning 2-0. The current version of the Timbers, which played in the United Soccer Leagues First Division and its predecessor A-League since 2001, were awarded a Major League Soccer franchise that will play top-tier soccer starting in 2011.
The standings: The Rowdies (5-4-3, 18 points), losers of three straight league games and scoring just one goal in that span, dropped a spot into third place in the USL Conference. They trail conference leader Austin (8-2-3) by nine points. With 16 points, Portland sits in fifth place in the conference.
Team leaders: Strikers Aaron King and Aaron Wheeler lead the Rowdies with four goals each in league play, but Wheeler likely will miss tonight's game due to an injury. Portland leads the league in total shots (166), and midfielder Ryan Pore leads the league in goals (nine) and points (20).
Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer