Aston Villa at Portland
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. today at Jeld-Wen Field.
Webcast: Live on portlandtimbers.com.
Radio: 750 AM (940 AM Spanish broadcast).
Tickets: This is part of the season ticket package, so availability is limited. Check Ticketmaster.
Storyline: Aston Villa, one of the original clubs in England’s league system, is on a preseason tour in America (1-0 wins at Philadelphia and Chicago so far). Portland wishes this was its preseason, as it owns the worst record in Major League Soccer. On the bright side, the Timbers can’t tumble farther down the standings with this match.
About Aston Villa: The Birmingham, England, club was founded in 1874. In 1888, AVFC was a founding club of The Football League, and in 1992 was one of the founding members of the Premier League.
In 2011-12, Aston Villa finished 16th in the 20-team Premier League.
Players to watch: Top strikers Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor are injured, but 21-year-old Nathan Delfouneso is considered a rising star. New coach Paul Lambert has brought his key players on this trip, which concludes with this match in Portland.
Portland-AVFC connections: When the NASL Timbers formed in 1975, they were built on Aston Villa ties. Coach Vic Crowe and players Willie Anderson, Tony Betts, Brian Godfrey, Mick Hoban, Pat McMahon and Brian Tiler were original Timbers from Aston Villa.
How will GM and interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson treat this game? With a home MLS game against Chivas USA on Saturday to end a busy July, this exhibition figures to feature plenty of time for less-used players. On the other hand, does Wilkinson use this as a chance for regulars to enjoy playing the game again?
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