Cascadia in Utah: 'Caps open season versus rival Timbers

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Portland Timbers
MLS Regular Season - Week 1
Sunday, April 18, 2021 - 7:08 p.m. PT
Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT
TV: TSN1/3 - RADIO: AM730

NEW ERA: Whitecaps FC enter their second decade in MLS with a retooled roster on the pitch, and changes to the senior leadership group in the front office. New to the locker room are six players: five international players including two rookies, plus an experienced addition to the ‘Caps goalkeeper union. Head coach Marc Dos Santos also welcomes MLS great Ricardo Clark to his staff as assistant coach.

A YEAR STRONGER: The ‘Caps return 24 players, affording continuity and chemistry to a club that had seen heavy turnover in past three offseasons. Canadian internationals Lucas Cavallini, Maxime Crepeau, and Russell Teibert are part of the veteran group that steers the team, hoping to prove that the squad has grown stronger from a year like no other in 2020.

CASCADIA IN UTAH: It’s an old rivalry in a new setting to kick off the season as the ‘Caps and Timbers battle it out in Utah. The ‘Caps look to establish advantage at the RioT as their temporary home in the Mountain West to start the year. Diego Valeri is a longtime ‘Caps adversary, Sebastian Blanco is returning from an ACL injury, and Argentine U-23 international left back Claudio Bravo is the Timbers’ key addition over the offseason. 

BRING ‘EM YOUNG: 17 of the 30 first-team players are aged 23 and under, forming one of the league’s youngest rosters. The fresh legs gives the ‘Caps coaching staff options for the upcoming year when depth and rotation could be key in a busy 34-game schedule. Five ‘Caps represented Canada U-23 at the recent Olympic qualifiers, and should be ready to contribute right away, fresh from the high-stakes international competition.

THE LATEST FROM SANDY: Offseason acquisitions Javain Brown, Deiber Caicedo, and Evan Newton have been incorporated into the squad, having appeared in preseason friendlies last weekend. Recent arrivals Caio Alexandre, Bruno Gaspar, and David Egbo have spent much of the week under mandatory quarantine and aim to get up to speed and into match fitness. Ali Adnan remains in Vancouver, with plans set for him to rejoin his teammates as soon as he gets his travel documents. Derek Cornelius, Erik Godoy, Leonard Owusu, and Tosaint Ricketts have sat out the last week of camp rehabbing injuries and will not be available for the opener.

'CAPS CONNECTIONS WITH PORTLAND TIMBERS

Former teammates
Goalkeepers Evan Newton and Jeff Attinella on Tampa Bay Rowdies in '11

Fellow countrymen
Argentina: Erik Godoy, Diego Valeri, Sebastián Blanco, Claudio Bravo
Chile: Cristian Gutierrez (born in Canada) and Felipe Mora
Colombia: Cristian Dajome, Deiber Caicedo, Diego and Yimmi Chara, Dairon Asprilla, and Timbers assistant coach Carlos Llamosa and goalkeeper coach Guillermo Valencia

Dos Santos vs. Savarese
Head coach Marc Dos Santos, then with Ottawa Fury FC (‘14-’15) and San Francisco Deltas (‘17), coached against Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese, then with New York Cosmos in the NASL. Dos Santos had a head-to-head coaching record of 3W-6L-3D versus Savarese in NASL. They faced each other in the NASL Championship twice, with Savarese’s Cosmos winning in 2015, and Dos Santos’ Deltas hoisting the trophy in 2017. ‘Caps assistant coach Phillip Dos Santos held the same role in his older brother’s staff with Fury FC and Deltas.

In MLS, the two coaches have been on opposing benches four times, with Dos Santos winning their first meeting at BC Place, then Savarese victorious in the next three, all at Providence Park (one counted as a Whitecaps FC home match).

5/10/19 VAN 1 vs POR 0 BC Place
8/10/19 POR 3 vs VAN 1 Providence Park
9/27/20 POR 1 at VAN 0 Providence Park
11/1/20 POR 1 vs VAN 0 Providence Park

AVAILABILITY REPORT

Injured
Derek Cornelius: Out - right tibiofibular sprain suffered during Canada U-23 vs. Honduras U-23 on March 25, return to training status is day-to-day 
Erik Godoy: Out - right calf strain suffered during VWFC vs. Real Monarchs on April 6, return to training status is day-to-day 
Leonard Owusu: Out - right hamstring strain suffered during VWFC vs. Chicago Fire FC on April 10, return to training status is week-to-week
Tosaint Ricketts: Out - left hamstring strain suffered during VWFC vs. Real Monarchs on April 6, return to training status is day-to-day

Quarantine (health & safety protocol)
Caio Alexandre: ended morning of April 18
David Egbo: ended April 14, began training on April 15
Bruno Gaspar: ended April 16

Awaiting visa approval from US Citizenship and Immigration Services
Ali Adnan: training in Vancouver, BC
Javain Brown: training with team in Sandy, UT

GEAR UP

Get suited up for matchday with the 2021 Season Opener Pack! Get a kickoff tee, a pair of sunglasses, and a scarf and save 40% off. Curbside pickup and home delivery available at whitecapsfc.com/store. Visit the Official Store at 385 Water Street in Gastown.