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Sunday, December 3, 2023
Dec. 3, 2023

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Timbers gear up for stretch run, playoffs

Just three games are left at PGE Park

By , Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter

The Portland Timbers begin their final homestand of the season today when they host the Austin Aztex at 7 p.m. at PGE Park.

But being in the home stretch of this United States Soccer Federation Division 2 Pro League season doesn’t mean the team is finished tweaking its roster.

The Timbers on Wednesday announced they have signed veteran defender Kevin Godthwaite for the rest of this season. Goldthwaite, 27, played most of the last six seasons in Major League Soccer.

He played in 10 matches with the Timbers in 2005. Goldthwaite is recovering from injury and is expected to be available to play for the Timbers in two weeks.

That means he won’t see action at PGE Park this summer.

After hosting Austin today, Portland plays Crystal Palace Baltimore on Sunday and Peurto Rico on Sept. 2 to close out its PGE Park schedule. The Timbers play their final four regular-season matches on the road. Any home playoff matches will be played at either the University of Portland or Hillsboro Stadium because of renovation work at PGE Park in advance of the club’s move to Major League Soccer in 2011.

The Timbers have not won a league home match since late June. But 1-0 wins away from home in their two most recent games improved the team’s playoff position.

Coach and general manager Gavin Wilkinson, who will become the team’s technical director at the end of this season, has said the club will keep trying to add players who might help the franchise chase a championship this season.

Austin is one of two teams that has clinched a spot in the USSF Division 2 Pro League playoffs. At 13-3-5, the Aztex have the best winning percentage in the league. They trail USL Conference leader Rochester by four points, but hold a 10-point lead on third-place Portland.

The Timbers are fourth overall in the league standings. The top eight teams, regardless of conference, advance to the playoffs.

NOTES: Both today’s match and Sunday’s 6 p.m. match will be live on FSN (cable Ch. 34). . . . Before today’s match, there will be a testimonial match honoring former Timbers player and long-time area college and youth coach Jimmy Conway. The 5 p.m. match will feature a team of former Timbers — including Wilkinson — playing against a team of players who played for Conway-coached college and youth soccer teams.

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Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter