The Portland Timbers have announced their opponents for the team's 2015 "Bonus Game B" English Premier League side Newcastle United. The English side will come to town on July 21st, between the Timbers' home match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on the 18th and their away match against FC Dallas on the 25th. Despite the game's inclusion in the first team season tickets package, it will actually feature the Portland Timbers 2, although the team will likely send a number of first team players to T2 for the match.
While the Timbers have previously used the "B" and "C" games in their season ticket packages for the U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champion's League, the team's draw to play the Seattle Sounders away at Starfire Sports Complex for their first USOC match means the likelihood of the Timbers getting a home game is significantly diminished.
Newcastle's main accomplishment in the 2014-15 season was not getting relegated, with the squad starting the season strong, but struggling to maintain their performances later in the season and slipping to within touching distance of the relegation zone before recovering and ending the year in 15th place.
Currently the Magpies are in the news for unceremoniously releasing midfielder/defender Ryan Taylor and forward Jonas Gutierrez via phone call from interim manager John Carver -- the same John Carver whose stint in charge of Toronto FC for part of the 2008 and 2009 seasons makes him one of TFC's longest serving managers. Gutierrez returned to the side after a two year battle against testicular cancer late in the season and scored his first goal in the final match of the season to secure Newcastle's place in the Premier League.
To find out more about Newcastle, check out SB Nation's team blog, Coming Home Newcastle.
The Timbers' press release:
T2 TO PLAY HOST TO NEWCASTLE UNITED OF ENGLAND’S PREMIER LEAGUE AT PROVIDENCE PARK JULY 21
Premier League club to visit Portland during preseason tour
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced that T2 will play host to English Premier League club Newcastle United in an international exhibition on Tuesday, July 21, at Providence Park. Newcastle United will visit the Rose City during its preseason tour to the United States.
The friendly against Newcastle United, which is expected to include a number of MLS Timbers players, is included as part of Timbers full-season ticket packages as Bonus Game B. Individual tickets, starting at $18, will go on sale to the public Monday, June 8, at 10 a.m. (Pacific). Fans can purchase tickets online at www.timbers.com or by phone at (888) 736-6849. A special, online-only presale for Timbers season ticket holders and members of the Timbers Season Ticket Waiting List will take place starting at 10 a.m. (Pacific) on Friday, June 5, at www.timbers.com.
Kickoff time for the July 21 friendly against Newcastle will be announced at a later date.
Known as the "Magpies," Newcastle has won the league championship four times along with six FA Cup titles and the 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup. Founded in 1892, Newcastle United has never dropped below the second tier of English soccer since joining the English Football League in 1893, while participating in the Premier League in all but two of its seasons since 1992-93.
During the 2014-15 Premier League season, Newcastle compiled a 10-19-9 overall record to ensure a sixth consecutive season in the Premier League in 2015-16. A five-match winning streak from Oct. 18-Nov. 22, 2014, helped vault Newcastle as high as fifth place during the first half of the season. In other competitions, the Magpies reached the quarterfinals of the 2014-15 English Football League Cup, including a 2-0, fourth-round win over Premier League heavyweights Manchester City on Oct. 29, 2014.
Newcastle’s roster features a pair of Dutch internationals with goalkeeper Tim Krul and defender Daryl Janmaat, each of whom appeared at the 2014 FIFA World Cup for the Netherlands, as well as French international midfielder Moussa Sissoko and 25-year-old Newcastle upon Tyne native Jack Colback, who registered four goals and six assists during league play for the Magpies in the 2014-15 season.