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Victory returns home to play Portland Timbers Thursday

June 27, 2007 - USL First Division (USL-1) - California Victory News Release

SAN FRANCISCO (June 27, 2007) -- The California Victory takes on the Portland Timbers Thursday night at Kezar Stadium in the second of five meetings between the two clubs this season.

Both sides return to league action having played Lamar Hunt US Open Cup second round games this week. The Victory edged Minnesota 1-0, but Portland fell 2-1 to Seattle.

The Victory's win means a July 10 fixture at MLS team Colorado Rapids, something the brand-new USL franchise has been gunning for all season.

"The win against Minnesota was an incredible night and a great display of teamwork," said head coach Glenn Van Straatum. "We really wanted this."

California returns home from an arduous road trip of four games in seven days, with the team arriving back in San Francisco Wednesday afternoon.

"Again, the resilience of our guys on this trip was very apparent," said Van Straatum. "The crowd was always against us and we didn't have any luck with the referees."

"It's always hard to play away, but we are coming away from this road trip with a loss, a tie and most importantly, this Open Cup win," he added. "This was big. I'm very proud of the guys -- it again shows our character and I hope it continues."

Thursday game against Portland is an opportunity for the Vics to return to form. Until Sunday's loss, they had gone five games unbeaten -- a league run where goalkeeper Eric Reed conceded only two goals.

Portland are also enjoying a stingy defense, having conceded only seven goals all season -- the best record in the USL first Division.

Victory fans will see two new faces at Kezar Stadium Thursday: Juan Epitié, who returns to the team following his involvement in the African Cup of Nations with Equatorial Guinea, and Federico Bianchi, a midfielder with experience in the USL Second Division with Long Island.

Van Straatum hopes the additions will help sharpen the attack, but remains focused on the task at hand: a good home result against a tough Portland side.

"We won't have much time to prepare [for Thursday's Portland game], but anyway, it's back to business," added Van Straatum.

Who: California Victory (1-5-5, 8 points, 12th place) versus Portland Timbers (4-2-3, 15 points, 7th place).

When: Thursday June 28, 2007. Kickoff 7 p.m.

What: United Soccer Leagues First Division.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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