Timbers Match Day vs. Vancouver

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

Kickoff: 4 p.m. today at BC Place.

TV: ROOT Sports (cable Ch. 34/734).

Radio: 750 AM (940 AM Spanish broadcast).

Where they stand: Portland (7-16-9, 30 points) is eighth in the Western Conference; Vancouver (11-12-9, 42 points) is fifth in the Western Conference, four points ahead of F.C. Dallas in the battle for the final playoff spot.

All-time series: In MLS, the Timbers have three wins and a draw against the Whitecaps. Three of the four MLS meetings have been in Portland.

This season: On May 26 the teams drew 1-1 in Portland; on Aug. 25, the Timbers won 2-1 in Portland.

Storyline: Both teams should be desperate for a win. A victory would claim the Cascadia Cup trophy for Portland -- and prevent the Timbers becoming the fifth MLS team to go winless on the road for an entire season. A draw or a Vancouver wins means Seattle will retain the Cup, the trophy for the best head-to-head results among the Northwest rivals. The Whitecaps FC can lock up a spot in the Western Conference playoffs with one win in their last two games. Portland is out of the playoff picture.

Fond memory: BC Place is the site of the Timbers' last win away from Jeld-Wen Field, a 1-0 result on Oct. 2, 2011.

Choppy water: Their 4-0 win over last-place Chivas USA on Oct. 3 ended a seven-game winless string for the Whitecaps, who had scored only three goals in that seven-game stretch.

Lineup questions: After missing the Oct. 7 loss at Seattle, center back Hanyer Mosquera is healthy and expected to start alongside David Horst for Portland. Rodney Wallace and Lovel Palmer have returned from international assignments with Costa Rica and Jamaica. In recent games, Wallace and Palmer have played at outside backs, and the Timbers must choose between each of them and Steven Smith and Kosuke Kimura.

Leaders: Goals -- Kris Boyd (7) leads Portland, Darlington Nagbe (6) leads among Timbers likely participants; Darren Mattocks (7) leads Vancouver. Assists -- Eric Alexander (6) leads Portland; Camillo (7) leads Vancouver.

Injury/suspension/international impact: Timbers -- Out: DF Ian Hogg (ankle sprain); DF Chris Taylor (hip surgery). Doubtful: FW Kris Boyd (adductor strain). The Whitecaps' top scorer, rookie Darren Mattocks (hamstring), missed last week's 4-0 win over Chivas USA but is listed as probable, as is midfielder John Thorrington.Question of the day? Can the Timbers players have the same passion for this match as their fans will carry into it -- and be collectively motivated to match the intensity of an opponent playing for a playoff spot.