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Published on 06/21/2004 9:22 pm   (Last Updated 06/21/2004 9:22 pm)
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Portland preview
By Matthew Whatever

The Thunder have played 5 of the 6 other teams in the Western Conference at their new home beating each one. Tuesday night they hope to make it a clean sweep and beat the Timbers, giving them sole posession of first place in the West.

The Timbers who opened on a six game winning streak have since struggled to win and come to the game with a 7-0-3 record. The two most recent loses; coming late in the game, has led many to question Timbers coach, Bobby Howe's, reluctancy to bring in fresh legs. A player to look towards starting or coming off the bench in this game; is the ever present pacific northwest soccer player, Andrew Gregor. Adding to the question of who Portland will start is goalkeeper Josh Saunders. Saunders is questionable for the game due to an injury he suffered in their last match against Rochester.

Portlands defense has not been the trick to their success this year though, that has been their offense. Led by rookie Alan Gordon who has scored 10 goals in his first 10 games, the Timbers lead the league in goals scored. The Timbers offense is so potent that only one team has gotten on the score in regulation time before them. While only one team has held them scoreless. A matchup to watch will be Chris Brunt vs. Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar. A fast midfielder Alcaraz-Cuellar has the ability to take players on one v. one; he leads the team with 4 assists.

What this game comes down to is the top offensive team in the west take on the top defensive club in the west. A strong showing by the Thunder backline and the Thunder will take the lead in the West and help to raise the doubts in Timbers camp.

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