Matchcentre

PORTLAND TIMBERS vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
PROVIDENCE PARK, Portland, Ore.
Sept. 20, 2014 (WEEK 28, MLS Game #267)
2 p.m. PT (TSN1, TSN 1410 VANCOUVER)

A massive match in the Western Conference playoff picture is ahead on Saturday afternoon when the Portland Timbers play host to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Providence Park before an NBC Sports Network audience. The teams are separated by a single point in the table, Whitecaps FC holding down fifth place and the final postseason position, ahead of the Timbers. Whitecaps FC remain on the road following their 2-1 loss at FC Dallas last weekend, while the Timbers are coming off another late, last-gasp draw, reaching a 2-2 result at the Colorado Rapids.

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REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. AR1 (bench): Peter Balciunas; AR2 (opposite): Felisha Mariscal; 4th: Juan Guzman
MLS Career: 115 games; FC/gm: 24.2; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 18; pens: 19

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Diego Chara, Will Johnson, Diego Valeri … VAN: Jordan Harvey, Sebastian Fernandez
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Norbetto Paparatto, Pa Modou Kah … VAN: Gershon Koffie, Andy OíBrien, Pedro Morales, Mauro Rosales, Russell Teibert
DISABLED LIST: VAN: Caleb Clarke (season-ending injury)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Timbers 5 wins, 18 goals … Whitecaps FC 1 win, 12 goals … Ties 4
AT PORTLAND (5 meetings): Timbers 2 wins, 9 goals … Whitecaps FC 1 win, 8 goals … Ties 4

2014 (MLS)
6/1: POR 3, VAN 4 (Urruti 3; Fernandez 77; Johnson 86 – Morales 16, 26; Hurtado 49+; Harvey 49)
8/30: VAN 0, POR 3 (Powell 51; Urruti 75; Wallace 79)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Goals from Alvas Powell, Maximiliano Urruti and Rodney Wallace led the Timbers to a 3-0 win Aug. 30 at BC Place. On June 1 at Providence Park, Pedro Morales scored twice as Whitecaps FC withstood a second-half charge from the Timbers before taking a 4-3 victory.
  • The win in the first meeting was the first for Whitecaps FC against the Timbers since the two teams have played in MLS competition. The Timbers have won five of the first 10 meetings all-time, including three of the five contests at BC Place.
  • Coaches record: Caleb Porter v VAN: P5 W1 L1 T3 … Carl Robinson vs. POR: P2 W1 L1 T0

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The Timbers took the lead six minutes into the second half. Diego Valeri collected the ball on the right flank and fullback Alvas Powell was allowed to run in to the near post unmarked and head home the opener.
  • The lead was doubled with a quarter-hour to play. Just seconds after coming on as a substitute, Michael Harrington pulled a ball back for fellow substitute Maximiliano Urruti at the edge of the box, and had time to turn before crashing a fantastic finish in off the underside of the bar.
  • The scoreline was complete four minutes later when Darlington Nagbe combined to slip in Rodney Wallace in the left side of the area for a cool, low finish past Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-3-1-2): David Ousted - Steven Beitashour, Andy O'Brien, Kendall Waston, Jordan Harvey (Sam Adekugbe 80) - Mauro Rosales, Matias Laba, Russell Teibert - Pedro Morales - Erik Hurtado (Sebastian Fernandez 76), Kekuta Manneh (Darren Mattocks 60).
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Alvas Powell (Michael Harrington 74), Liam Ridgewell, Pa Modou Kah, Jorge Villafana -Diego Chara (Ben Zemanski 90), Will Johnson - Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri, Rodney Wallace - Fanendo Adi (Maximiliano Urruti 68).

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers hit for yet another late equalizer to grab a point, this time coming back for a 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Timbers are in sixth place in the Western Conference with 36 points from 28 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The visitors broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute. A slick pass from Fanendo Adi went to a streaking Diego Valeri, and he blasted home off of rookie goalkeeper John Berner’s hands and into the back of the net.
  • But less than two minutes into the second half, the Rapids won a penalty after Liam Ridgewell was whistled for a hand ball by referee Drew Fischer as the Englishman attempted to block a shot by Colorado's Deshorn Brown. Rapids captain Dillon Powers finished cleanly from the spot for the 48th-minute equalizer.
  • The Rapids pulled ahead in the 66th minute. Left back Marc Burch’s terrific cross into the goalmouth went straight onto Brown’s head, and knocked home from close range.
  • But the Timbers had one final answer. Substitute Gaston Fernandez took a terrific feed from fellow substitute Maximiliano Urruti and slotted home from the heart of the area for the leveler.
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made two changes to the team that got a late 3-3 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at Providence Park. Ben Zemanski and Rodney Wallace came into the side in place of Will Johnson and Gaston Fernandez.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Alvas Powell, Liam Ridgewell, Pa Modou Kah, Jorge Villafana - Diego Chara, Ben Zemanski - Darlington Nagbe (Kalif Alhassan 85), Diego Valeri, Rodney Wallace (Gaston Fernandez 75) - Fanendo Adi (Maximiliano Urruti 68).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Timbers reached their second draw in a row, and has played to 12 draws this year, third-most in MLS (Chicago 15, Vancouver 13). The Timbers led MLS a season ago with 15 draws.
  • “We’re still in a good spot. That game next week is key, so we’ll stay even keel on this and take the point. We’ll get out of here and shift gears,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter.
  • Diego Valeri had a goal and an assist, the 11th time in his two-year MLS career he’s been involved in multiple goals in a game.
  • Valeri recorded an assist for a third consecutive game; he has a goal and five assists over that span. Valeri has scored six goals and added five assists over the last 11 league contests. Valeri now has 13 assists, tied for second-most in MLS this season behind LA’s Landon Donovan. Valeri led MLS with 13 assists a year ago in his first season in the league. Valeri is one assist behind the Timbers’ all-time club record, set by John Bain in 1980 in the old North American Soccer League.
  • Ben Zemanski made his first league start since May 24, playing the full 90 minutes in the center of midfield. Zemanski had made just three substitute appearances, totaling nine minutes, over the preceding 15 league matches.
  • “It was a big opportunity for me, with the game being as big as it is with playoff implications and everything like that. I thought it was an average game for me, I thought I did some things well, and did some things that I could've done better,” Zemanski said.
  • Will Johnson did not figure in a league game for the first time all season. He had missed just seconds all season, coming off as a substitute once, late in the April 5 match vs. Seattle.
  • “I thought [Ben] Zemanski had a good game. Going into the game, we decided to rest Will [Johnson], he's played more minutes than anybody this season. He had a busy week, a long week. He didn't sleep much because his wife gave birth,” said Porter. “We knew Zemanski would do a good job. … We knew [Johnson] could only play two games, and looking at it, obviously we could've played him Saturday-Saturday, but we decided Tuesday-Saturday is just as good. It works out a little better with him having a really long week and not sleeping much with the baby.”
  • Gaston Fernandez came off the substitutes’ bench for the first time in seven matches and scored his seventh goal of the season. Each of his last three goals have come after he’s come on as a substitute.
  • “I think it says a lot about the attitude of our entire team, that we get guys that come into the game and they do a job even though they didn't start the game,” said Porter. “That makes my job tough, because obviously we get goals off guys coming in off the bench, and then they're motivating you to play in the next game, which I'm fine with.”
  • On Tuesday, the Timbers won their second match from two starts in the CONCACAF Champions League, taking a 4-2 victory against CD Olimpia of Honduras at Providence Park. Maximiliano Urruti scored a pair of goals and Will Johnson and Rauwshan McKenzie also added tallies.
  • Here’s the Timbers team: Weber, OíRourke, Paparatto, McKenzie, Harrington, Alhassan (Wallace 46), Jewsbury, Johnson, Nanchoff (Nagbe 63), Fernandez, Urruti (Adi 81)

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC saw their brief two-game undefeated streak come to an end, falling 2-1 to FC Dallas on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium. Whitecaps FC sit in fifth place in the Western Conference with 37 points from 28 games.

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas took the lead in the 20th minute on a stunning strike by Blas Perez. Receiving the ball near the right corner flag, and he took a floating, adventurous shot that curled and dipped and fooled Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted as it flew over his head and into the far upper corner of the goal.
  • Whitecaps FC pulled level in the 67th minute. On the counter attack, an excellent pass from Mauro Rosales fed substitute Erik Hurtado in the area and he cracked a first-time shot that beat FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez.
  • But the leveler came 10 minutes later. From a foul about 40 yards from the Vancouver goal, Michel played the resulting free kick into the Vancouver area, where Akindele pushed a partial clearance to Perez, and he made no mistake, finishing well through a crowd of Whitecaps players for his second goal of the night.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made four changes to the team that defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 at BC Place. Ethen Sampson and Christian Dean came into the back four in place of Steven Beitashour and Andy O'Brien, Mehdi Ballouchy started in the midfield for Pedro Morales, and Darren Mattocks came in up top in place of Erik Hurtado.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-3-1-2): David Ousted - Ethen Sampson, Kendall Waston, Christian Dean, Jordan Harvey - Russell Teibert, Matias Laba, Mehdi Ballouchy (Pedro Morales 57) - Mauro Rosales (Kekuta Manneh 81) - Sebastian Fernandez, Darren Mattocks (Erik Hurtado 62).

TEAM NEWS

  • Whitecaps FC saw their brief overall two-game undefeated streak come to an end, while their road winless streak was extended to eight matches. The FCD game started a stretch of four out of six games away from BC Place.
  • “I thought we done a lot of very good things within the game, but games turn on very fine moments,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “The game is about both boxes. It doesn't really matter what you do in the middle of the field. It's about being precise and being detailed in the two boxes. We could have created a little bit more. We played well in patches, we dug deep. Third game in a week, which was always going to be difficult.”
  • Erik Hurtado netted his fifth goal of the league campaign, his first since June 7, when he scored the final goal in a four-game goal-scoring run. It was his first goal scored after coming off the substitutes’ bench.
  • Mauro Rosales recorded his first assist since coming to Whitecaps FC, making a fourth consecutive start following his trade from Chivas USA.
  • “It was a good performance from the boys against a very good team. A lot of fire in a lot of people's bellies out there. A lot of people getting involved in the game, and it's a defeat, so we will take it on the chin,” said Robinson.
  • Christian Dean made his first career MLS start, playing the full 90 minutes at center back. Dean had made three substitute appearances totaling 33 minutes.
  • “I think they (FC Dallas) got through a few times, but nothing that Dallas doesn't do almost any time,” said goalkeeper David Ousted. “I think Ethen (Sampson) was fantastic, took (Andres) Escobar completely out of the match. (Christian) Dean, same thing. He did really well. Tough place to play and a lot of pressure, but both of them did really well.”
  • Whitecaps FC conceded a goal from a set piece situation for the first time since July 12, just their third goal allowed from a standard situation this season, second-fewest in MLS (Seattle, 2).
  • “We've got to deal with the set piece. We didn't deal with it. The second ball we didn't do anything,” said Robinson. “I just didn't understand the ref’s decision to not give a free kick, then a free kick was given against us.”
  • Said Ousted: “The second goal is on my shoulders. I shouldn't have gone out there. [Perez] gets an easy tap-in. I should have stayed on my line. I tried to come out and help the guys, but it was too low for me.”