Matchcentre

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC will kick off a three-match homestand on Saturday when they host Cascadia rival Portland Timbers at BC Place.  

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. PT  TV: TSN1  RADIO: TEAM 1410  MOBILE: bell.ca/mobiletv  ONLINE: TSN GO

Here are three storylines to watch. 

TABLE WATCHING

With just 10 matches remaining in the regular season, including three straight at home, the playoff race is officially on – if it wasn’t already. As it stands, Whitecaps FC are in sole possession of the fifth and final playoff position in the Western Conference.

The ‘Caps are two points up on sixth-place Portland Timbers with a game in hand. Suffice to say, Saturday's tilt has major playoff implications. A win would give Vancouver a five-point cushion over the Timbers, setting them up nicely heading into what is sure to be an exciting final stretch.

WELCOME TO VANCOUVER

Last weekend against LA Galaxy, recently-acquired midfielder Mauro Rosales and centre back Kendall Waston both impressed in their respective Whitecaps FC debuts as second-half substitutes.

Rosales, a creative Argentine winger, looked very bright in his 45 minutes of action, showing why he has 42 assists since 2011 – the second most in MLS. Waston, a 6-foot-5 Costa Rican centre back, actually played 11 minutes as a striker and didn’t look out of place. 

It’s possible both players could make their home debuts Saturday at BC Place. If that’s the case, make sure to give them a warm Vancouver welcome.

SOUTH AMERICAN PLAYMAKERS

Rosales isn’t the only South American playmaker who could be in action on Saturday. There’s also Whitecaps FC star Pedro Morales, who racked up two goals and two assists in a 4-3 win over Portland back in June, and Timbers attacking midfielder Diego Valeri. 

Shutting Valeri down will no doubt be high on the priority list for 'Caps defensive midfielder Matias Laba, who is expected to make his return to the lineup after missing Vancouver's last match due to suspension. 

When Carl Robinson first sat down with Morales, the ‘Caps manager said that people would compare him to Valeri – the 2013 MLS Newcomer of the Year. Morales responded: “I want to be better.”

Both players have seven goals this season, while Morales has one more assist (nine).

Which South American playmaker will have the edge tonight?

It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets, 5-packs, student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.