MatchDay: Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and 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.