Preview: Whitecaps FC continue quest for Cascadia Cup against Portland Timbers

'Caps face Timbers in second of three meetings this season

VANCOUVER, BC- Vancouver Whitecaps FC (9W-7L-5D) continue their quest for the Cascadia Cup this weekend when they visit Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers (8W-3L-10D) on Saturday night. Kickoff at JELD-WEN Field is set for 8 p.m. PT.

Saturday's match between Whitecaps FC and Portland Timbers kicks off at 8 p.m. PT and is live on City, Sportsnet ONE, and Bell mobile devices. 'Caps fans can also listen to Saturday’s match live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 6 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match.

No less than 750 Whitecaps FC fans will be making the trip down the I-5 to invade JELD-WEN Field and cheer on the 'Caps.

This weekend's tilt will be another crucial battle in the tight Western Conference, as Portland currently sit third in the conference with 34 points while Vancouver are only two points behind with 32 points. This is the second of three matchups between the ‘Caps and Timbers in 2013, with the two teams having tied 2-2 in their previous encounter at BC Place back on May 18. The 'Caps have already exorcised some demons this season when they defeated Seattle Sounders FC for the first time since joining MLS, and now the Blue and White will look to do the same versus Portland, whom they have yet to beat in six MLS meetings.

WHITECAPS FC

The ‘Caps are a coming off a frustrating 1-0 loss to Philadelphia, which halted the team's home unbeaten run at 10 matches.

Despite Jun Marques Davidson’s ejection from the game in the eighth minute, the undermanned 'Caps fought valiantly, pressing for periods and outchancing the Union in the game despite being a man down. Despite their efforts, it just wasn't to be for the boys in white. Kekuta Manneh came closest for Vancouver when hit the post after playing a one-two with Camilo, but Philly substitute Antoine Hoppenot secured the win for the visitors with the lone goal of the match in the 85th minute.

Last match: Whitecaps FC 0-1 Philadelphia Union

Whitecaps FC will be without the suspended Davidson (red card) this weekend, as well as midfielder Gershon Koffie who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season versus the Union and thus must also serve a one-match suspension.

On the injury front, Martin Rennie’s side will be missing striker Darren Mattocks, who recently had knee surgery and Omar Salgado, who is still recovering from a right foot fracture. Listed as doubtful for Saturday’s clash is Andy O’Brien (hamstring), and captain Jay DeMerit (ruptured Achilles tendon). Striker Kenny Miller is listed as questionable after suffering from some tightness in his right adductor.

PORTLAND TIMBERS

Last match: San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Portland Timbers

After seeing a club-record 15-match unbeaten streak end last month, the Timbers have struggled to regain their form, having won only once in their past four matches.

In their most recent outing, Portland suffered a 2-1 road loss to San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium. Despite a late goal from Darlington Nagbe, the Timbers fell to the Quakes for only their third loss of the season.

One of the main contributing factors to the success of head coach Caleb Porter’s side has been their cohesive midfield group of Diego Valeri, Canadian international Will Johnson, Diego Chara, and Nagbe. The play of goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, who was acquired from Montreal Impact last summer, has also guided the Timbers to concede only six goals at home all season.

The Oregon side will be without Bright Dike (ACL surgery), David Horst (tibia plateau surgery), Brent Richards (ACL surgery), Mikael Silvestre (ACL surgery), and Dylan Tucker-Gangnes (concussion). Listed as questionable for Saturday is Diego Chara (turf toe).

HEAD-TO-HEAD

May 18, 2013: Whitecaps FC 2-2 Portland Timbers

This weekend’s match will be the seventh meeting between Whitecaps FC and Portland Timbers in MLS regular season competition. Across two seasons, the ‘Caps have yet to defeat Portland and have a record of 0W-4L-2D against the Rose City side.

Saturday’s match will be the 75th all-time meeting between the ‘Caps and Portland. Vancouver hold an all-time record of 33W-28L-13D against the Timbers.

There are several player connections between the two clubs. Michael Nanchoff, who began his MLS career with Vancouver in 2011 and 2012, is a now a member of the Timbers. However, Nanchoff is currenty on loan to Swedish club Jönköpings Södra. Nanchoff was also a teammate of Darren Mattocks at the University of Akron, where both were coached by current Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. There is also a goalkeeper connection, as ‘Caps goalkeeper Brad Knighton spent time on loan with the then United Soccer Leagues First Divison (USL-1) side Portland Timbers in 2008 when he was a member of New England Revolution.

CASCADIA CUP

This match also counts toward this season’s Cascadia Cup standings, with Vancouver, Portland, and Seattle competing annually to become kings of the Pacific Northwest. The ‘Caps are currently in first place in the standings and a win will increase their lead over their Cascadia rivals. However, a win for Portland - who also have a game in hand - will allow the Timbers to overtake the Blue and White at the top of the standings.

NEXT UP

After this important Cascadia battle, Whitecaps FC return home to host San Jose Earthquakes in another vital Western Conference encounter on Saturday, August 10, at BC Place. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. PT. Tickets are still available at ticketmaster.ca/whitecapsfc.