Timbers Return Home For Cascadia Cup Clash Against Whitecaps

The Portland Timbers (3-3-7) return home after back-to-back road wins to face the Vancouver Whitecaps (4-2-5) Sunday at 6PM PT. Three points would mean jumping from sixth in the West to anywhere between fifth and third, depending on Colorado’s result against Houston. A win won’t be easy as the Timbers are playing their third match in just eight days. Fresh legs and focused minds are needed if there’s hope of cracking the Vancouver defense that has only allowed fourteen goals this year.

Fanendo Adi’s slick brace in the StubHub Center led Portland over Chivas USA 2-0 on Wednesday. It was the loanee from Copenhagen’s first start for the Timbers and he put in a full 90 minutes due to a late injury to Norberto Paparatto.

With Papa having taken a knock to the head, it’s unlikely that he’ll play against Vancouver while going through the league’s concussion protocol. Ben Zemanski should also miss Sunday’s match after sustaining a concussion last week in New York. Will Johnson has played 180 minutes over the last eight days, but if anyone can take the abuse it’s the Timbers’ Captain.

In place of Norberto, I’m expecting Caleb Porter to start Rauwshan McKenzie, the same player that was subbed on in Papa’s place against Chivas. Michael Harrington could also return to his right back position if he’s healthy enough. If not, I’d like to see Jorge Villafana again, but wouldn’t be surprised if Porter elected to go with newcomer Danny O’Rourke. Either Maxi Urruti or Fanendo Adi could start up top against the Whitecaps. Each tallied a brace in their last match, but with Maxi not featuring against the Goats, Urruti should make the eleven.

Vancouver comes to Providence Park on a five game unbeaten streak in MLS play and sit just one point above Portland in the conference standings.They faced the Seattle Sounders in their last match and earned a point at home with things ending in a 2-2 draw. Erik Hurtado and Gershon Koffie each scored for the ‘Caps with Pedro Morales getting the only assist.

Steven Beitashour and Ethan Sampson are both out to international duty and an injury respectively. Nigel Reo-Coker, who started at right back against Seattle, will again be in the backline Sunday. The same lineup that manager Carl Robinson used against the Sounders should be expected.

Currently, the Seattle Sounders lead the the Cascadia Cup standings with two points, while Portland and Vancouver each have one apiece. The Whitecaps currently hold the cup after winning it last year despite missing the playoffs. 12 goals, 15 yellows, and a single red card were accumulated over three meetings between Portland and Vancouver in 2013. With Sunday’s points affecting conference and cup positions, expect a chippy environment and a likely high-scoring affair.

Projected Lineups:

Portland Timbers: Donovan Ricketts; Michael Harrington, Rauwshan McKenzie, Futty danso, Jack Jewsbury; Will Johnson, Diego Chara; Steve Zakuani, Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe; Maxi Urruti

Vancouver Whitecaps: David Ousted; Jordan Harvey, Jay DeMerit, Andy O’Brien, Nigel Reo-Coker; Matias Laba, Gershon Koffie; Kekuta Manneh, Pedro Morales, Sebastian Fernandez; Erik Hurtado