VANCOUVER, BC – Last weekend's Cascadia Cup disappointment in the draw with Seattle is already in the past for Vancouver Whitecaps FC. There's no time to dwell on what could have been. All the attention now is firmly focused on their next derby game as they prepare to face Portland on Sunday (6 p.m. PT; TSN2).
Heading into the Timbers lair may be an intimidating proposition for a number of teams in the league, but the ‘Caps feel very much at home there, despite never having won in Portland in MLS action, and the team are keen to bring their attacking style of play at home with them on the trip down the I-5.
“It's an environment we're comfortable with,” defender Jordan Harvey told reporters. “I know it's a hostile environment but we've all played there a few times and I think we're used to it. It's an exciting environment. Everybody raises their game when they play there I think.”
“We do feel confident on the road and like we've been talking about all season, it's about a mindset going in. We've played there this preseason and we had some success and I think that's the key. Go in with that mindset that we can have success. We can get three points and we aren't looking to sit back. We need to play our game like we have been.”
Highlights from Vancouver's 1-1 preseason draw with Portland
Carl Robinson's group spent just over a week in Portland in the preseason, taking part in the four-team Rose City Invitational. Vancouver won the tournament, going undefeated in the process, but more importantly for the players, it made them very comfortable in the surroundings.
“I think it's a little bit more comfortable for people that were there preseason," Erik Hurtado noted. "You got to know the city, you got to train on the field we're playing on a lot, so it is more comfortable.”
“Personally I love the atmosphere of playing soccer there and I love the atmosphere of [opposition] fans just yelling at you. Trying to get in your face. That motivates me.”
The game is a homecoming for Hurtado, who grew up in Beaverton just outside of Portland and played with the Timbers U-23 team in the PDL and the second-year striker will have a number of friends and family in attendance.
They will be hoping to see Hurtado continue his rich vein of form, which has seen him score three goals in his last three matches in all competitions, and he is set to form a potentially devastating fast paced attack alongside Kekuta Manneh and a fit again Darren Mattocks. But whoever gets the nod to start in Portland, Hurtado is confident they will do some serious damage.
“Anyone on our team could do damage to anyone with any combination. We have a big depth on our team,” Hurtado told reporters. “It's going to be fast, it's going to be intense. It's a Cascadia Cup game and we're ready for the physicality of it.”
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 ($220), 5-packs ($149), 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.