Vancouver Whitecaps vs Portland Timbers – Sunday 15:30 Pacific/18:30 Eastern BC Place – Vancouver.
It is a bit of an odd time for Major League Soccer at the moment. Many teams in the league have several players employed at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which is currently taking place in the United States.
The Gold Cup is CONCACAF’s equivalent of the European Championships and as a FIFA sanctioned tournament MLS teams have to release their players for the tournament. Unlike other leagues, however, MLS refuses to shut down while FIFA sanctioned tournaments take place, which means that clubs often have to make due without their national team players.
Both Vancouver and Portland are hit by that predicament. Vancouver are currently without teenage sensation Alphonso Davies, Russell Teibert (both represent Canada) and Kendall Waston (Costa Rica). Portland, on the other hand, has to make due without Darren Mattocks (Jamaica), David Guzmán (Costa Rica) and Darlington Nagbe (United States).
Portland’s squad was further decimated on Wednesday when striker Fanendo Adi and winger Victor Arboleda picked up red cards in their 1-4 defeat to Real Salt Lake. Vancouver in the meantime was also in action on Wednesday defeating the highly rated Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 at the StubHub Center in Carson.
The result means that both teams are in a three-way tie for points with Seattle in the Western Conference. Vancouver are now sixth and behind the Sounders and Timbers because of the goal differential. The Whitecaps, however, have played the least amount of games between the three teams and a win against the Cascadia Cup rival on Sunday could, therefore, be a significant statement of intent in the tight playoff race (only the first six teams in the Western Conference advance).
Always a tight affair Cascadia Cup games are always fun to watch and with both teams missing key players this will be a close match. But Vancouver’s deeper squad may just edge it out for the Whitecaps who could move into third place with a win on Sunday.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs Portland Timbers – Players to look out for:
Tony Tchani #16 – Vancouver Whitecaps
Tony Tchani is quickly developing into a key player for the Vancouver Whitecaps. Brought in in March in exchange for Keikuta Manneh Tchani’s transfer was seen somewhat critical by the media. But his hold up play and physical play in midfield have proven critical in recent games, and he is now developing into a key asset for the Whitecaps.
Diego Váleri #8 – Portland Timbers
Diego Váleri is Portland’s top scorer this season. The native of Lanús, Argentina joined Portland all the way back in 2013 and has been a consistent scorer for the Timbers ever since. The Argentine scored 14 goals and six assists in 30 games last year, and he is currently following this up with ten goals and five assists in just 19 games this season.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs Portland Timbers – Match Stats
- Portland Timber’s head coach Caleb Porter’s record against the Vancouver Whitecaps is W5 D6 L4
- Vancouver’s head coach Carl Robinson’s record against Portland is W4 D3 L5.
- Portland beat Vancouver 2-1 on matchday 7.
Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Portland Timbers 2-1
Vancouver Whitecaps vs Portland Timbers – Possible Lineups
Ousted – Harvey, Parker, Jacobson, Nerwinski – Laba, Mezquida, Tchani, Bolaños, Montero, Techera
Coach: Carl Robinson
Gleeson – Valentin, Miller, Mabiala, Myers – Zemanski, Valeri, Olum – Blanco, Ebobisse, Asprilla
Coach: Caleb Porter
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.