Preview: Whitecaps FC to conclude preseason schedule Saturday against Portland Timbers

'Caps set for final preseason test before MLS First Kick

DeMerit intense, yelling vs. Timbers Valencia

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USA Today Sports Images

VANCOUVER, BC – With just one week remaining until the start of the 2014 Major League Soccer season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will conclude their preseason schedule on Saturday evening with a Cascadia derby against Portland Timbers.

Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. PT at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. The match be will streamed live on whitecapsfc.com and fans can listen to the match on Team 1410 AM radio. Live updates will also be provided via Twitter @WhitecapsFC.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Highlights: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-0 San Jose Earthquakes

The ‘Caps come into Saturday’s Cascadia derby as the lone undefeated team at the Rose City Invitational – a four-team competition between Vancouver, Jamaican club Portmore United, San Jose Earthquakes, and the host Timbers.   

After opening the preseason tournament with a 5-1 win over Portmore, Whitecaps FC made it two for two with a 2-0 win over San Jose on Wednesday.

Kenny Miller and Darren Mattocks provided the scoring for Vancouver and recently acquired goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi earned the clean sheet in his first appearance.

If Whitecaps FC win or draw on Saturday against the Timbers, the 'Caps will finish as the top team at the Rose City Invitational (though the tournament doesn't actually recognize a winner). However, for Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson, the focus is solely on getting set for the March 8 season opener against New York Red Bulls.

"It will be a good test for us to see where we are and what we need to do moving forward," Robinson told whitecapsfc.com. "There will be places up for grabs. Whether we're taking about the players who start or the players who come off the bench on Saturday, there's an opportunity for them to put in one last show before we nail down our team for next week's season opener."

Robinson said it's possible that recently acquired midfielder Matias Laba, who is slated to arrive in Portland on Friday, could play a part at some point during Saturday's contest. On the other hand, two players who won’t be involved are Mattocks and right back Steven Beitashour, who left for international duty earlier in the week.

Also of note, Residency midfielder Marco Bustos and goalkeeper Nolan Wirth returned to Vancouver on Friday for a pair of weekend Residency matches. 

Saturday’s contest will be Vancouver’s final match of the preseason. To date, the Blue and White have posted a 4W-2L-0D record, including three straight victories.  

PORTLAND TIMBERS

The host Timbers, who finished atop the Western Conference with 57 points last season, have yet to win a game at the Rose City Invitational. They opened the competition with a 1-0 loss at the hands of San Jose, before playing to a 1-1 draw with Portmore on Wednesday.

Former Whitecaps FC midfielder Michael Nanchoff opened the scoring for Portland with a left-footed volley from just outside the box, before the Timbers surrendered an equalizer through a late penalty.

The Timbers fielded a youthful squad against Portmore, which means the ‘Caps can likely expect to face their MLS regulars on Saturday.

including the the Rose City Invitational matches, the Timbers have posted a 2W-1L-3D record in preseason play.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Over the years, the ‘Caps and Timbers have met 76 times in official competitions – Vancouver has the edge with a 33W-28L-15D overall record.

Vancouver has yet to beat Portland in MLS play, but the Cascadia rivals drew each of their three meetings last season.

Their first regular season meeting in 2014 is scheduled for June 1 at Providence Park.

NEXT UP

The ‘Caps will open the 2014 MLS season on Saturday, March 8 against the defending Supporters Shield-winning New York Red Bulls. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. PT at BC Place.

Whitecaps FC begin their 2014 MLS season on March 8 versus New York Red Bulls at BC Place. Season tickets start at just $349 and single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.