MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competition: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Venue: Providence Park – Saturday, April 22 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST) 
Match Odds: Portland 7/10 – Draw 11/4 – Vancouver 7/2

Match Preview

Portland Timbers face Cascadia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday evening, with the visitors looking for their first away points of the season against their Western opponents.

The Timbers suffered their first home loss of the season and first in nine at Providence Park last time out so the big question is whether they can now bounce back with victory on Saturday.

Caleb Porter’s men still lead the West, as well as the Supporters’ Shield standings, coming into the weekend but they have only won one of their last four and need to pick back up to avoid falling away.

The Portland attack is one of the most dangerous is Major League Soccer but they will be without Fanendo Adi on Saturday after he picked up a one-match suspension. Even without Adi, the Whitecaps defence is not likely to keep them out if they’re on song.

Vancouver got a an important win under their belt last week, edging past Seattle Sounders 2-1 at BC Place in the first Cascadia Cup clash of the 2017 season.

They will need to be ready for another battle if they are to leave Providence Park with anything on Saturday and will be concerned by the fact they’ve conceded six goals in their two road trips so far this season.

Carl Robinson’s men can move three points behind Portland with a win on Saturday, which would provide a major boost for the club after a rough start to the campaign. But a defeat would still leave them with plenty of questions to answer.

These sides met three times last season. The home team was victorious in each meeting, with Vancouver winning two of those contests. There were 14 goals in the three clashes, so another entertaining game is expected on Saturday.

Team News

Portland have been dealt a major blow as Fanendo Adi has been handed a one-game suspension by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for an elbow on Ike Opara in last week’s loss. Gbenga Arokoyo is out for the season, while Ben Zemanski is also out. Liam Ridgewell is listed as ‘questionable’ and isn’t likely to return to action this week.

Vancouver still have six players out injured as Brett Levis, Yordy Reyna, David Edgar, Erik Hurtado, Brek Shea and Marco Bustos are all sidelined.

Key Points

Portland Timbers’ form: W/L/D/W/L

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/L/W/L/W

Key Stat: Portland have only won one of the last six regular season meetings between the two sides, with Vancouver taking three victories in that time and outscoring the Timbers 11-8.

Key Player: Diego Valeri – Portland’s star man is still one of, if not the best, playmakers in MLS. He has seven goals and three assists in seven games so far this season and will expect to unlock a leaky Vancouver defence even without Fanendo Adi to supply this weekend.

Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – It’s difficult to see Portland blowing the Whitecaps away without the suspended Adi this weekend, although they will still expect to take three points from a side that are struggling on the road. Vancouver will be able to cause the Timbers problems but the hosts look poised to bounce back from last week’s defeat with an important victory over their rivals here.

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