The Story So Far
I’m not going to go into gory detail here about Wednesday night. In what was a must win, the Timbers did their best to implode and did not disappoint.
Now the boys head to Vancouver for a Sunday derby with the Whitecaps who are on a decent run of form. They’re 3-2-1 in their last six, good for 4th place in the West. The Timbers currently sit in the 5th just above the Seattle Sounders who are now above the line - and tied on points. We get 5th place because of goal differential. On Wednesday night while the Timbers were being beat down, the Whitecaps pulled off a 1-0 victory in LA against the Galaxy. Can a even more shorthanded Timbers squad take on a somewhat short handed Whitecaps squad?
The Boy Wonder
The Canadian wunderkind Alphonso Davies has burst onto the scene and has staked his claim as one of the best young attacking players in MLS, at the ripe old age of 16. In 22 games across all competitions the 16 year-old has banged in 4 goals and collected 2 assists - though he has yet to score in MLS this term. He’s an attacking threat used mostly on the wings, but can play at the forward position in a pinch. Davies is currently tied for the Golden Boot race in the Gold Cup with 3 goals, though he won’t be able to add to that because Canada got bounced out of the tournament by Jamaica.
So the question is, will Davies be available for selection come Sunday? Possibly is the answer I would give. He’s not going to start at least I don’t think so, but he might be an option off the bench because he’ll only have a couple days rest as Canada played on Thursday.
The last time these two teams met the Timbers won in a convincing fashion 2-1, with goals by Darlington Nagbe and Darren Mattocks. The Whitecaps would nab a goal midway through the second half thanks to Fredy Montero. In the last five meetings the boys in green and gold are 3-2-0 versus the Caps.
There will be 5 players missing from the lineup that played in that match in April. Nagbe, Mattocks and Guzman are still in the Gold Cup and Adi and Arboleda picked up red cards versus RSL. I have no idea how the Timbers are going to line up come Sunday night. Porter could end up starting Ebobisse up front, because if anything he really doesn’t have many other choices.
On the road again
The Timbers coming into this match sport a dismal 2-6-2 record on the road. At least we won a couple right? As the saying goes and I’ve said it before - win at home, get a result on the road. In contrast the Whitecaps are pretty good at home notching a 5-2-2 record at BC Place. It’s not to say that BC Place is a fortress, as the Whitecaps have had their own problems and absences with the Gold Cup going on. So if the Timbers are going to get any sort of points on the road Sunday they’re going to have gut it out.
I thought I’d leave things on a happy note.
Here are the goals from Nagbe and Mattocks when Vancouver visited Providence Park back in April. While neither of these players will be on the pitch Sunday night - this is a good reminder that this team - when it wants to be is as good as they come.