The end of the regular season is upon us and for the Portland Timbers, everything hangs in the balance. After fighting back from a midseason slum that saw the side slip briefly below the red line, a win today against the Vancouver Whitecaps would put the Timbers on top of the Western Conference and the Cascadia Cup standings, securing both a bye in the knockout round of the playoffs and a full year’s worth of bragging rights.
The Timbers come into today’s match in strong form, their 4-0 win over Eastern Conference side D.C. United capping off a five game home winning streak that has seen the Timbers outscore their opposition 14-2 in that period. The Whitecaps, meanwhile, have faltered after the strong home run that catapulted them into first place in the West, but they remain deadly on the counter and scrappy on defense: a recipe for a hard fought match between the two Cascadian rivals.
Storylines: “The Timbers backline has to be careful, as the Whitecaps love to cross the ball into the box, and they’ll try splitting the defense with a ton of through balls. Look for them to go at whoever is Sunday’s right-back. They tend to attack down the right with regularity, so either Powell or Valentin are going to be busy as well. Also look for the attack to at times go right down the middle of the pitch - this is where I’d look to start Guzman and Chara - stop that attack and win the ball.”
Stop by the Rose City Forecast to make your predictions about today’s match.
Watch it on: ROOT Sports
Where: Providence Park in Portland, OR.
When: Sunday, October 22nd at 1:00 p.m. PT
Portland Timbers: 14-11-8, 2nd place in the Western Conference, 4-0 vs. D.C. United
Vancouver Whitecaps: 15-11-7, 1st place in the Western Conference, 1-1 vs. San Jose Earthquakes