MatchDay: Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Timbers at Vancouver

When/where: 1:30 p.m. Sunday at BC Place.

TV: Live on ROOT Sports (Comcast cable channel 34/734).

Radio: AM 750 (AM 940 Spanish broadcast).

Records: Portland is 10-13-7, sixth in the West and 12th overall. Vancouver is 4-15-10, last in the West.

Why to watch: Both teams will be desperate to win — the Timbers to help their playoff chances; the Whitecaps to keep their fellow expansion team out of the postseason.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Portland: F Kenny Cooper, F Darlington Nagbe, M Eric Alexander, M Diego Chara, M James Marcelin, M Sal Zizzo, D Mike Chabala, D Mamadou “Futty” Danso, D Eric Brunner, D Lovel Palmer. GK Troy Perkins.

Vancouver: F Eric Hassli, F Mustapha Jarju, M Davide Chiumiento, M Gershon Koffie, M Peter Vagenas, M Camilo, D Jordan Harvey, D Alain Rochat, D Jay DeMerit, D Jeb Brovsky, GK Joe Cannon.

THE MATCHUP

The last time: Portland scored twice in the first 30 minutes and held off Vancouver for a 2-1 win on Aug. 20 at Jeld-Wen Field.

Thin in the middle: Portland will be without captain Jack Jewsbury and wide midfielder Kalif Alhassan because of suspensions. Among Portland’s lineup options are moving Darlington Nagbe back to midfield, giving Eric Alexander a second start as a Timber, and starting James Marcelin.

Stadium showcase: This is the Whitecaps first home match at renovated B.C. Place. Vancouver has been playing home matches at a temporary stadium.

Watch for: How Portland plays the first 20 minutes. Figure the Whitecaps will come out with their hair on fire because A) they’ll have 40,000-plus fans supporting them; and B) Vancouver doesn’t want its fellow first-year team making the MLS playoffs while it finishes at the bottom of the standings.

Coach John Spencer on the Whitecaps: “The one thing that they will be playing for is, it’s two expansion teams: one has a chance of making playoffs, and one’s got a chance at stopping the other team making playoffs. So I think that’s the incentive that they have this weekend.”

Troy Perkins’ perspective: “For us it’s a pride of getting close to playoff opportunity. For them, it’s keeping us out of it. ... Of course they’re gunning for us.”

Spencer on Timbers road struggles (one win this season): “I think it just comes down to maturity. A lot of these young guys — Kalif, Sal, Darlington, Jorge, Diego — aren’t used to the travel in this league with the time changes. It’s a difficult league to come in and make an impact right away.”

NOTABLE

• Scoring leaders: Whitecaps — Eric Hassli 10 goals; Davide Chiumiento 9 assists. Timbers — Jack Jewsbury seven goals and eight assists.

Injury report — Whitecaps FC — Out: F Atiba Harris (knee surgery); D Jonathan Leathers (hamstring strain); GK Brian Sylvestre (knee surgery); MF Russell Teibert (toe laceration); Probable: MF John Thorrington (groin strain). Timbers — Out: GK Adin Brown (concussion); D Kevin Goldthwaite (knee ACL rupture); F Eddie Johnson (concussion); F Spencer Thompson (knee); Probable: D Mamadou Danso (hamstring strain); DF David Horst (groin strain); GK Troy Perkins (hip soreness)

Suspended — Timbers: Jack Jewsbury (caution accumulation; through Oct. 2); Kalif Alhassan (through Oct. 2). Suspended next yellow card — Whitecaps: Jay DeMerit, Eric Hassli, Jordan Harvey. Timbers: Rodney Wallace.