Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Venue: Providence Park – Saturday, May 2nd – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST – Sunday, May 3rd)
Match Odds: Portland Timbers 23/20 – Draw 23/10 – Vancouver Whitecaps 12/5
The Timbers are seventh in the Western Conference coming into this clash after they narrowly lost their last game away at the Seattle Sounders in what was also a Cascadia Cup match and they’ve only won two of their first eight games (D3, L3).
Caleb Porter and his side would’ve hoped for a better start to the season but they will know it’s still very early days and they’ve already overcome a number of tricky fixtures against the likes of LA Galaxy and Seattle.
Vancouver Whitecaps are flying high and currently sit top of both the Western Conference and the Supporters’ Shield standings with 16 points from their opening nine games and have made their second best ever start to an MLS season – the Whitecaps had 17 points from their first nine games in 2012.
Since a run of four straight wins, Carl Robinson‘s side have dipped slightly with just one win in their last four (D1, L2) and they suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to FC Dallas last time out, although Vancouver are the joint-second highest scorers in MLS this season with 11 goals – only Columbus Crew have netted more times (12).Embed from Getty Images
These two sides met just one month ago when the Whitecaps beat the Timbers 2-1 in dramatic fashion at BC Place. Nicolas Mezquida had given Vancouver the lead before Fanendo Adi equalised in the 82nd minute for Portland, but Robert Earnshaw scored a last-gasp winner to sink the Timbers.
The last meeting that took place at Providence Park saw Portland run out as 3-0 winners back in September 2014 and the Timbers will be desperate for a repeat result.
Portland Timbers have numerous absentees in midfield with Will Johnson, Ben Zemanski, Michael Nanchoff, Rodney Wallace and Diego Valeri all set to miss out through injury.
Vancouver Whitecaps are without the injured Andre Lewis and Marco Bustos, while Diego Rodriguez is a slight doubt after he missed the last game with a muscle strain.
Portland Timbers’ last five: L/W/L/W/L
Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: W/D/L/W/L
Key Stat: Vancouver Whitecaps have only beaten the Portland Timbers twice in 12 attempts in MLS (D4, L6).
Key Player: Octavio Rivero – The Uruguayan is the joint top goalscorer in MLS so far this season having already found the net five times. He has been almost unplayable at times and the Timbers will need to find a way to stop him if they are to stand a chance of victory.
Portland Timbers 2-2 Vancouver Whitecaps – This is a clash that has all the makings of a classic and it should provide us with goals and entertainment but will probably end all square.