The Portland Timbers have a chance to move to the to the top of the standings in MLS today with a win over their Cascadian rivals, the Vancouver Whitecaps. With both teams coming off disappointing losses, the Timbers on the road to the Philadelphia Union and the Whitecaps in their first home match since the start of the Women's World Cup, a win here could be vital to either team.
Match Preview: "The Portland Timbers come into this match having just dropped a tough result on the road to the Philadelphia Unionand will be looking to get things back on track with their sixth home win in a row. After an injury stricken start to the year, the Timbers seemed to find their form in recent weeks as the majority of the team got healthy for a stretch of seven games in twenty seven days that moved the team from the bottom of the Western Conference to contention for the top.
Now, however, the Timbers find themselves once again beset by injuries. While the severity of the assorted knocks that kept Adam Kwarasey, Norberto Paparatto, Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe, and Maximiliano Urruti out of the eighteen against the Union is unknown, it is imperative that the Timbers recover quickly and keep their home form going. While the team can survive a slow start, a second slow period would certainly move the Timbers from a team that looks like a lock for a playoff spot to one that could struggle to get in at all, much like we saw in 2015."
Preview Interview: "They need both their defense and star offensive players to step up to the plate. The defense should be a position of strength for the Whitecaps; They have one of the best defensive midfielders in the league in Matias Laba, a stud Defensive Back in Kendall Waston, and a good mix of youth and veteran leadership on the wings in Steven Beitashour, Jordan Harvey, and Sam Adekugbe, when he's healthy. Unfortunately, Waston's CB partner has been a problem all season long, with Pa Modou Kah, Diego Rodriguez and Tim Parker all playing minutes there. Rodriguez may be the best option the 'Caps had, but he's been injured and hasn't truly shown what he can offer the Whitecaps. The Backline will have to do without Waston, as he's off to the Gold Cup. It will further test the unproven mixture in the Whitecaps defensive end. Up front, Octavio Rivero isn't scoring, and with Pedro Morales injured Rivero's name needs to be a consistent presence in the boxscore. I will say this about Octavio, when he isn't scoring, he's still always involved and creating chances."
Watch it on: ROOT Sports
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. PT at Providence Park in Portland, OR
Portland Timbers: 9-7-4, 5th place in the Western Conference
Vancouver Whitecaps: 10-8-2, 3rd place in the Western Conference