- Portland Tribune - Sports
Next: Scores will be kept and notes taken on who plays well, but for the Timbers, this weekend's exhibition games against San Jose and Gonzaga mostly are about getting ready physically for the United Soccer Leagues regular season.
'It's definitely a fitness thing,' Portland defender Scot Thompson says of playing the Earthquakes at 7:30 tonight at University of Portland and the Zags at 2 p.m. Sunday at Lincoln Park Stadium in Forest Grove. 'We all want to win, but you don't put two games in one weekend this time of year for tactical purposes.'
San Jose opens the MLS season Thursday at the Los Angeles Galaxy.
'They (the Quakes) are probably a little more fit than we are,' says Portland forward Chris Brown, who played for San Jose in 2004. 'They've been training for two months, and we've only been here a couple of weeks.'
• Portland coach Gavin Wilkinson wouldn't mind if the San Jose match showed his players where they are lacking. 'I'm hoping we get exposed,' he says.
• Returning starter Justin Thompson will arrive in time for Sunday's game and says he is ready to play some minutes, if Wilkinson desires. Thompson, 27, didn't sign his new, one-year deal until this week, because he was planning to go into business full time in British Columbia. He recently had a change of heart, though, and says he'll hold off on that till the offseason.
'I decided that you're only young once, and I want to keep living the dream,' he says. 'I want to focus on winning a championship. I'm excited about where the league is going -there's been a lot more movement between the USL and MLS, and teams are getting bigger exhibition games. I just think I'd be crazy to walk away from it and a great group of guys.'
• The Timbers will unveil their newest goalkeeper tonight, Wilkinson says, as Portland fills the key spot left open when Josh Wicks went to the Galaxy.
• Wilkinson promises that the Timbers aren't done adding forwards and that they will announce a big-name player soon. The second addition will come 'in about 20 days,' he says. 'He's a great young player, not experienced in this country, but has played in World Cups. … He'll probably miss our first four or five games, but he's a player worth waiting for.'
• Wilkinson, 34, sometimes jumps into short-field scrimmages but the former Timber defender says returning as a player is out of the question. 'Every morning I consider it, but by the afternoon the dream is gone,' he says. 'I'm just not good enough. Age slows you down, and I'm even slower now than I was.'
• FSN will carry five home matches: May 24 versus Vancouver; June 12, Atlanta; July 10, Puerto Rico; Aug. 16, Montreal; and Sept. 4, Miami.
• The Timbers will wear their alternate 'Rose City Red' (maroon) uniforms at both games this weekend. They'll don them again for the regular-season home finale, then put them up for auction.