Competition: Major League Soccer – Vancouver Whitecaps vs Portland Timbers
Venue: BC Place – Saturday, March 28 – 20:00 ET (00:00 GMT)
Match Odds: Vancouver 1/1 – Draw 12/5 – Portland 11/4
BC Place will play host to the Portland Timbers on Saturday night as they travel to Vancouver to play the Whitecaps in a key Western Conference clash in the what is the first match of the 2015 Cascadia Cup series.
These rivals from the Pacific Northwest always put on entertaining games and with both seemingly unaffected by the international break, this should be no different.
Vancouver come into the game off the back of two consecutive away wins and will want to replicate their away from when they return to BC Place for the first time since opening weekend on Saturday night.
Having won the last two away matches 1-0, the Whitecaps are used to low-scoring affairs and we’re expecting this one to be no different.
They will be hugely reliant on star striker, Octavio Rivero, as he has scored in each of their opening three games. Can he make it four in a row on Saturday?
Portland will feel disappointed with their form so far this season, as they are a side with great potential. Three draws in three is not great, but it’s not time to man the panic stations yet. They will see this fixture as winnable, despite being away from home.
After seeing a lead slip away twice in their clash with the LA Galaxy two weeks ago, and then a 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City last time out, Portland could do with a win here against a Vancouver side that will battle for the MLS Playoffs with the Timbers come the end of the campaign.
The Sporting Kansas City game was not the first 0-0 draw this season for the Timbers as they played out a goalless draw on the opening weekend against Real Salt Lake and finding the net has been a bit of a problem early on.
Portland will be a force this year and it’s time they started putting points on the board.
Vancouver will be without Mauro Rosales (ankle) and Andre Lewis (knee). Early season sensation Sam Adekugbe will also miss the game with a rib injury. Christian Dean, Russell Teibert and Darren Mattocks are all away on international duty.
Portland travel to Canada without Will Johnson (leg), Diego Valeri (knee), Ben Zemanski (knee) and Michael Nanchoff (hernia). Jack Jewsbury is a doubt with concussion, while Alvas Powell is on international duty with Jamaica.
Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/W/W
Portland Timbers’ form: D/D/D
Key Stat: Portland scored three times in each of the three meetings with Vancouver in 2014, winning 3-0 at BC Place in a memorable game for Timbers fans.
Key Player: Octavio Rivero – The Uruguayan striker has been a huge hit this season, and has scored each of Vancouver’s three goals so far. He could well be the match winner once again.
Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 Portland Timbers – These fierce rivals are both looking strong this season but there will be little to separate them on Saturday night. The Timbers have drawn every game so far and that result looks to be the most likely outcome of this one as both will be desperate to avoid defeat.