The Portland Timbers are back in town and ready for their first home preseason match of 2020 tonight when they will take on the Vancouver Whitecaps at Providence Park. After several weeks of sparse snippets of video from the team’s preseason camp in Costa Rica, tonight’s match will be the first chance for Portland fans to get a proper look at the shape of the side and at key newcomers like Yimmi Chara, Felipe Mora, and Dario Zuparic.
Mora in particular should be of interest to Timbers fans as he is the de facto starter with Jeremy Ebobisse and Jaroslaw Niezgoda both yet to make a preseason appearance while they work their way back from their respective offseason surgeries. After the Timbers used a designated player spot on Niezgoda and with Ebobisse already established in the side, it is easy to assume that Mora should naturally fall to third on the depth chart of Timbers strikers, but having been the Timbers’ top pick at the spot throughout preseason, beating out Dairon Asprilla, the 26-year-old Mora could still solidify his starting spot in the coming game.
On the other side of the pitch, the Timbers will be facing off against a Vancouver Whitecaps side who have made some significant changes since the end of their disastrous 2019 season. After failing to fight their way out of the Western Conference basement last year, the Whitecaps have turned over a big part of their roster, cutting ties with designated player Joaquin Ardiaz as well as six other regular starters from 2019. The upheaval of the Whitecaps roster means that manager Marc Dos Santos will have a chance to further reshape the side in his own image coming into his second season with the club and could have a very different look than Timbers fans are used to seeing.
Match Day Reading
Three Things: “Another question we might have answered for us is whether or not Dario Zuparic can be the center back the Timbers have been waiting for. I don’t need to rehash the challenges the backline faced last season (short version: all the center backs got hurt), and how that impacted Portland’s late-season woes.”
Timbers.com: From Costa Rica back to Portland, a sense of normalcy aiding in Timbers preseason
TimbersArmy.org: The Passing of a Legend
Watch it on: Streaming on Timbers.com
When: Sunday, February 16th at 5:00 p.m. PT
Where: Providence Park in Portland, OR
Portland Timbers: Finished 2019 with a 14-13-7 record in 6th place in the Western Conference before losing 2-1 to Real Salt Lake in the opening round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Vancouver Whitecaps: Finished 2019 with an 8-16-10 record in 12th place in the Western Conference.