The Portland Timbers are this* close to a playoff berth and, with just over a quarter of the season to go, it would be a huge releif to be looking back at the teams chasing them than doing the chasing themselves. Today's away match against the Vancouver Whitecaps gives the Timbers their second opportunity in two weeks to move above the red line as they face off against their Cascadian rivals who just happen to be holding onto the fifth and final playoff place in the Western Conference.
*Imagine someone holding two fingers, their thumb and forefinger, approximately a quarter-inch apart then shrugging and moving them slightly further apart.
Today's match up sees both teams coming off losses to teams at the top of the conference, Vancouver to the LA Galaxy and Portland to the Seattle Sounders, and both teams will be anxious to prove both to themselves and their fans that they belong in the playoff race. The Timbers have had plenty of success in Vancouver since the two teams moved up to MLS together in 2011, but it remains to be seen if this year's side has what it takes to step up and continue the tradition of making BC Place "our house, in the middle of BC."
Match Preview: "After looking like they had finally settled into a centerback pairing that could start to work together for the remainder of the season in Norberto Paparatto and Liam Ridgewell, the Timbers will need to change up their back line once again, following Paparatto's suspension for throwing an elbow into the head of the Seattle Sounders' Chad Marshall last Sunday. Although the Timbers' defense gave up four goals to the Sounders, the continued changes in the centerback position this year have been frustrating and have precluded any sort of chemistry developing along the back line."
Preview Interview: "If you compared this club to the club of a few months ago, I would argue they've regressed. I think the Portland match is a must-win for the 'Caps, if only to try and keep some pressure off their shoulders. Should the Timbers win, the Whitecaps will have blown a huge opportunity to put a little more distance between themselves and sixth place. If they fail to deliver, the comparisons to the last few seasons will only grow, and that's just not a distraction this club needs right now."
Watch it on: KPTV
Kick off: 7:30 PM PT at BC Place in Vancouver, BC
Portland Timbers: 7-8-10, 6th place in the Western Conference
Vancouver Whitecaps: 7-5-12, 5th place in the Western Conference