Timbers MatchDay: vs. Whitecaps

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter



Whitecaps at Timbers

Kickoff: 8 p.m. Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field.

TV/radio: ROOT Sports (Cable Ch. 34/734) / AM 750.

Tickets:www.portlandtimbers.com; 503-553-5555. A sellout is anticipated.

Where they stand: Portland (8 wins, 10 ties and three losses) is second in the West with 34 points. Vancouver (9-5-7) is fifth with 32 points.

Head to head: The teams played to a 2-2 draw in British Columbia on May 18, with Portland's Jose Valencia scoring the tying goal in the 84th minute despite Portland playing with 10 men. The teams play again on Oct. 6 in Vancouver. The Whitecaps have never beaten Portland in MLS play (Timbers four wins and two ties).

Cascadia Cup: Vancouver and Seattle are each 1-1-1 in 2013 Cup, play, while Portland has the two draws.

Timbers story: Since their 15-match unbeaten streak, the Timbers have one win, one tie and two losses. Coach Caleb Porter noted that those four points are one more than Portland earned through the first four games of the season. Midfielder Diego Chara is expected to miss another game with turf toe, meaning Ben Zemanski is likely to start alongside Will Johnson in the midfield. Central defender Futty Danso is also out with an injury. Despite the revolving door at central defender, the Timbers have been solid on defense. They have not allowed more than two goals since the season-opening 3-3 draw with New York. Portland has only given up more than one goal six times through 21 games and ranks second to Houston as the best defense in the league. Darlington Nagbe, Will Johnson and Ryan Johnson share the Timbers scoring lead with six goals apiece. Diego Valeri has seven assists. Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts won the fan vote for MLS save of the week for the eighth time this season for his stop on Jordan Stewart's header in the 2-1 loss at San Jose last Saturday.

Whitecaps story: The Whitecaps have lost two straight, and will be without a few key players for this match. Midfielders Gershon Koffie and Jun Marques Davidson are suspended. There have been reports that forward Kenny Miller will not be available. Still, Brazilian forward Camilo (13 goals in 20 games this season) will be a threat no matter who joins him up front. The Whitecaps are an attack-driven team whose 33 goals rank second in the Western Conference. But they are third from the bottom of the conference on defense, having allowed 29 goals.

Porter on Vancouver: The Timbers coach said he's noticed MLS teams tend to raise their effort level when key players are out. "I don't think (missing three starters) is going to make them any easier (to beat)."

Reserves in action: At 2 p.m. on Sunday, the Timbers and Whitecaps play a Reserve League match. Fans can attend that match and the Portland Thorns women's game on one ticket. Several Timbers youth academy players from Clark County have seen action in Reserve League matches this season.