'Caps, Timbers set to battle it out at Providence with major implications

Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
MLS Regular Season - VWFC Match #22
Sunday, November 1, 2020 - 7:08 p.m. PT
Providence Park, Portland, OR
TV: TSN4 - RADIO: TSN Radio 1040

MASSIVE IMPORTANCE:  It's another Cascadia tussle as the 'Caps face the Timbers in a match with massive implications in playoff positioning. The 'Caps are looking to climb above the line with only two matches left after the league announced on Thursday that the playoff seeding will be determined by points per game. The Timbers are in a tight race with Sporting KC and the Sounders for the number one seed in the West.

TURF WAR: The Timbers play as the host side on Sunday, but Whitecaps FC have settled in well in their temporary home south of the border. The 'Caps have won three of five in Portland, losing only to the Timbers in their first home match at Providence Park, and last Tuesday against the Sounders on two days rest. Sunday night is a rematch of the September 27 fixture that saw the 'Caps win the possession battle but the Timbers prevail on an early goal.

LINEUP DECISIONS: The 'Caps made wholesale changes to their lineup and switched their formation as they faced a quick turnaround for their last match on Tuesday. Defenders Ali Adnan, Erik Godoy, and Jake Nerwinski, and centre mid Leonard Owusu, could make their return to the starting backline and midfield against the Timbers, especially if the 'Caps switch back to the 4-4-2 formation they had been fielding out before the midweek adjustment. 

CHANCE ENCOUNTER: The 'Caps could expect to get their looks against the Timbers, who are among the top five clubs in MLS in conceding chances. The attacking trio of Lucas Cavallini, Cristian Dajome, and Fredy Montero, who have combined for 37 chances created this season, should be fresh for the matchup after each came off the bench on Tuesday. Ali Adnan averages 0.83 chances created per game in his MLS career, tied with Y.P. Lee for tops amongst all 'Caps defenders in the MLS era.

HEAD GAMES: Watch for the 'Caps to be on high-alert in defending against the cross as the Timbers lead MLS in goals off headers with 12, including two last Wednesday versus Galaxy, and the lone goal in the previous meeting with the 'Caps. Janio Bikel and Leonard Owusu, if selected to start, will have their hands full with Diego Valeri, who has six assists on the season.


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