Love them or hate them, the Timbers announced this morning the date and opponent of their third international friendly. The Portland Timbers will host Aston Villa, of the Barclays Premier League, on Tuesday, July 24, at 7:30 pm. Broadcast details have not yet been specified.
Interestingly, ticket information has not been specified either, suggesting the Villa match might not be included in the 2012 Season Ticket Package. The front office clearly sees the match as an opportunity to draw new fans to the stadium, seeing Villa as a draw for those local fans of English football who aren't already Timbers fans.
Update: @MerrittPaulson tweets "@StumptownFooty depends on how USOC sorts out. might or might not be."
This match continues a recent trend of hosting one Premiership side per year, having played West Bromwich Albion last year and Manchester City in 2010.
I'm personally pretty excited about this one, having been a Villa fan from afar for many years. The midweek match should also provide some good exposure for some of the Timbers' reserve squad.
I'm quite sure there are many who are less excited, though. In any case, find the full press release after the jump.
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers announced today that the club will play host to the English Premier League’s Aston Villa Football Club in an international friendly Tuesday, July 24, at JELD-WEN Field; kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (Pacific).
Ticket information for the exhibition match against Aston Villa will be announced at a later date.
"Playing clubs the caliber of Aston Villa is extremely beneficial in terms of increasing the exposure for the Timbers and the incredible atmosphere generated by the Timbers Army and our fans at JELD-WEN Field," said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager. "Playing top clubs from around the world only makes this team stronger and, with a deep squad, provides opportunities for players to gain valuable experience."
Aston Villa, founded in 1874, is one of the more historic and successful clubs in English football. A founding member of the original Football League in 1888 and of the Premier League in 1992, Aston Villa is the fifth-most decorated club in England, having won 19 major domestic honors in its history. The club boasts seven first-division championships, seven FA Cup titles and three European trophies, including winning the European Cup, now called the UEFA Champions League, in 1981-82.
Based in the city of Birmingham, Aston Villa has finished in the top half of the Premier League in each of the last four seasons, including three top-six finishes. Aston Villa, a 10-time participant in the UEFA Champions League, recently made three straight UEFA Europa League appearances from 2008-11.
Led by manager Alex McLeish, a former Scottish international, Aston Villa’s roster features one of the Premier League’s top goal-scorers over the past three seasons in striker Darren Bent, World Cup veteran goalkeeper Shay Given, standout defender Richard Dunne, experienced international and club captain Stiliyan Petrov, French winger Charles N’Zogbia and long-time star striker Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Aston Villa defenders Alan Hutton and Carlos Cuellar are former teammates of Timbers forward Kris Boyd at Scotland’s Rangers FC. All three players helped Rangers win the Scottish Cup, the Scottish League Cup and reach the finals of the UEFA Cup (now called the Europa League) during the 2007-08 season. Additionally, McLeish managed Boyd for a half season at Rangers during the 2005-06 campaign as well as in 2007 as the manager of the Scotland National Team.
The Timbers have played host to a number of English clubs and EPL sides in the club’s recent history, including Sunderland (2005), Burnley (2009) and Manchester City (2010). Last season, the club faced West Bromwich Albion in a friendly at a sold out JELD-WEN Field.