Timbers MatchDay: vs. Whitecaps

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter



Vancouver at Portland

Kickoff: 7 p.m. today at Jeld-Wen Field.

TV: Root Sports (cable Channel 34/734).

Radio: 750 AM (940 AM Spanish broadcast).

Tickets: A sellout of 20,438 is expected. Check Ticketmaster for any of extra or obstructed-view seats.

Where they stand: Portland (3-5-3, 12 points) is eighth in the Western Conference; Vancouver (5-3-3, 18 points) is fourth in the Western Conference.

Last season: Portland won 2-1 at home, and won 1-0 at Vancouver.

Storyline: This is the 70th meeting at all levels between the Timbers and Whitecaps dating back to the North American Soccer League from 1975-1982.

This meeting is significant on several fronts:

• The Timbers are trying to close the gap on the upper half of the Western Conference, and the Whitecaps sit in fourth place.

• The teams get a break from league play after this game, with Portland idle until a June 17 visit to Los Angeles, and Vancouver idle until June 10.

• This is part of the Cascadia Cup series, which also includes the Seattle Sounders. Vancouver and Seattle played to a 2-2 draw in the first Cascadia Cup match of this season.

• Vancouver lost the Canadian Cup championship on Wednesday at Toronto. And in 2011, Whitecaps FC dropped both games to its MLS expansion partners from Portland. So the Whitecaps figure to be plenty motivated.

• A win for Portland could pull the Timbers up as high as sixth place in the Western Conferece.

Leaders: Goals — Kris Boyd and Darlington Nagbe (3) lead Portland; Camilo and Sebastien Le Toux (4) lead Vancouver. Assists — Eric Alexander (3) leads Portland; Davide Chiumiento (3) leads Vancouver.

Injury/suspension impact: Both teams are relatively healthy. The Timbers are as close to full strength as they have been all season, with only Jack Jewsbury and Futty Danso on the injury list, and both listed as probable.

Question of the day: Now that the Timbers are healthy, who will be the first-choice players on the wings and in central defense for Timbers coach John Spencer?

Reserve reminder: The Whitecaps and Timbers also play at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Jeld-Wen Field, in a Reserve League match. All tickets are $10. The Reserve League is a chance for players not in the game on Saturday to get game action.

Purdy to play for El Salvador: Defender Steve Purdy has been called up by the El Salvador national team for international friendlies May 26 against Moldova and June 2 against Honduras, as well as 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers June 8 against Costa Rica and June 12 against Mexico.

Follow Paul Danzer all Timbers season on Twitter at www.twitter.com/col_timbers