Competition: MLS Playoffs (Western Conference Semifinal Second Leg) – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Portland Timbers
Venue: BC Place – Sunday, November 8 – 22:00 ET (03:00 GMT)
Match Odds: Vancouver 11/10 – Draw 23/10 – Portland 5/2
The Cascadia rivals played out a tight affair in the first leg with neither side able to find a much-needed goal. Vancouver are now favourites as they prepare for the home leg but Portland know an away goal could prove pivotal.
The Whitecaps boast the best defensive record in MLS in 2015 and a clean sheet here will give them a huge chance of progressing to the Western Conference final.
Vancouver Whitecaps’ 2015 MLS record: P35 – W16 – D6 – L13Embed from Getty Images
Vancouver have only won one of their last seven MLS games though and need to improve their form quickly if they’re to make the MLS Cup final in a month’s time.
Portland are unlikely to be phased by the away trip as they’ve only lost once in their last six games at BC Place (W3 D2). A score draw here will send them through on away goals so they will set up to negate the Whitecaps attack as much as they can.
Portland Timbers’ 2015 MLS record: P36 – W15 – D10 – L11
The Timbers are unbeaten in five now and will be in a confident mood ahead of what looks a tricky tie on paper.
Vancouver won this season’s only meeting at BC Place 2-1 back in March and will hope for a repeat result here. Though this could go either way.Embed from Getty Images
Vancouver are still sweating on the match fitness of Pedro Morales, though the playmaker will at least make the bench again. Ben McKendry and Caleb Clarke are definitely out, while Cristian Techera also remains a doubt. Octavio Rivero will spearhead the attack once again.
Portland will be remain without Ben Zemanski, while Will Johnson is a doubt. Caleb Porter could name an unchanged side, though Diego Chara is expected to be back and could be in line to start should he be fit enough.
Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: D/D/L/W/D
Portland Timbers’ last five: W/W/W/D/D
Key Stat: Vancouver have only won one of their last six home games against Portland in all competitions.
Key Player: Matias Laba – Vancouver’s midfield general will be expecting a busy evening on Sunday night. He leads MLS in tackles this season with an average of more than five per game and will look to keep the Timbers attack at bay.Embed from Getty Images
Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 Portland Timbers – Expect another tight contest between these Cascadia Cup rivals on Sunday. Vancouver are solid defensively but if they concede the first goal they will be in trouble. A draw looks the most likely result and that would give Portland the advantage.