Timbers MatchDay: vs. Whitecaps

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter



Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps

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

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

Where they stand: Portland has 4 wins, 6 ties and 1 loss for 18 points, second best in the Western Conference. Vancouver has 3 wins, 3 ties and 4 losses and sits seventh in the conference.

Head to head: In the MLS, Portland has four wins and a tie and has not yet lost to the Whitecaps. The Timbers have won both games in Vancouver, including their only road win of the 2012 season. This is the first of three games this season. Vancouver visits Portland on Aug. 3, and the Timbers are back at BC Place on Oct. 6.

Timbers' tale: The Timbers' club-record unbeaten streak climbed to nine with Sunday's 3-0 win over Chivas USA at Jeld-Wen Field.

The Timbers are productively sharing the offense. Ryan Johnson and Will Johnson have each scored four goals, and Diego Valeri and Rodney Wallace have three apiece, accounting for 14 of the team's 18 goals through 11 games. Despite injuries to top centerbacks Mikael Silvestre and David Horst, Portland has allowed only four goals over its last seven games and has four shutouts over that span. Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts has been outstanding. New central defender Pa Modou Kah joined training this week, but after only a couple of training sessions in Portland is unlikely to start in place of Andrew Jean-Baptiste or Futty Danso.

The Timbers, who were miserable on the road last season, are the only MLS team still unbeaten away from home this season (1-0-4).

This is the second of six Cascadia Cup matches for Portland. The Timbers earned a 1-1 draw at Seattle on March 16.

Whitecaps' story: Vancouver is unbeaten at home this season, with 3 wins and 2 draws at BC Place. The Whitecaps beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1 last weekend, their first win over the Galaxy and their first league win since March 9. All of the scoring in that match came in the second half. Substitute Russell Teibert scored two goals. Vancouver played Montreal to a scoreless draw on Wednesday in the first half of the two-leg Canadian championship series, making this a busy week for the Whitecaps.

Johnny Leveron, who started the previous two MLS games in central defense, is suspended for this match.

Coach speak: "A tough game against a team that's doing well and is playing with a lot of confidence and enthusiasm. But we are too and we're really looking forward to it," Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie said.