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Portland Timbers

Next: Slumping Portland has eight games remaining. Only two are on the road, and both of them are this week; the Timbers will be at Virginia Beach on Thursday and at Toronto on Saturday.

Notes: The Timbers lost 2-1 and 3-1 home and away to Seattle last weekend. With that, they fell to 5-10-5. With 20 points, they are tied for ninth with Miami (5-7-5) in the 12-team United Soccer Leagues First Division. The top six finishers qualify for the playoffs.

Montreal (9-2-5, 32 points), Vancouver (7-5-8, 29), Charleston (8-6-4, 28) and Rochester (7-2-7, 28) are in the top four spots. Tied for fifth are Puerto Rico (7-5-4, 25), Atlanta (7-5-4, 25) and Seattle (7-8-4, 25). Virginia Beach (5-5-6, 21) is eighth.

Portland has a lot of ground to make up, because Puerto Rico, Atlanta and Virginia Beach have all played four fewer games than the Timbers.

The Timbers never led Seattle in the two games last weekend, but they at least managed a brief 1-1 tie Saturday at Qwest Field when Luke Kreamalmeyer connected a penalty kick in the 17th minute. But Seattle tallied in the 25th minute and the 59th minute against Martin Hutton, in his first league start in goal for Portland. It was a typical Seattle-Portland game in other ways, as the Timbers' Mike Randolph drew a red card in the 42nd minute and each team drew four yellow cards.

Kreamalmeyer leads Portland in goals with six. Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, who scored on a free kick in Friday's loss, has three. Byron Alvarez, Oral Bullen, Mamba Chisoni and Alejandro Gutierrez have two apiece. Portland has given up 31 goals and scored 20 -not the output the team visualized going into the season. Since their rebirth in 2001, the Timbers have an average of 44.8 goals per season, netting 39 last year, 57 in 2004, 39 in 2003, 47 in 2002 and 42 in 2001.