Timbers face rival Whitecaps tonight in playoff action

The Timbers and their Northwest rival the Vancouver Whitecaps open their USL First Division semifinal series tonight in Vancouver. Listen live on 95.5 The Game or watch it live on USL Live. Follow updates on Twitter.

Click here for tonight's match notes.

Tonight's starters:
POR: GK Cronin, D Hayes, D Thompson, D Keel, D Nishimura, M Farber, M McManus, M Pore, M Claesson, F Josten, F Keita

VAN: GK Nolly, D Martin, D Pejic, D Bellisomo, D Hirano, M Knight, M Verailles, M Nash, M Toure, F Haber, F Gbeke

Match Preview:

After a first-round bye in the USL First Division playoffs, the Portland Timbers open postseason play this week as they face the Vancouver Whitecaps in a two-game, aggregate-goal semifinal series, starting tonight in Vancouver.
 
The Timbers finished the 2009 regular season at the top of the table, winning the USL First Division Commissioner's Cup for the second time in modern franchise history. As the regular-season champion, Portland received a first-round bye in the postseason. The team's season also included a record-setting 24-game unbeaten streak.
 
Portland advances to the postseason for the sixth time in nine USL First Division seasons, and makes its second appearance in the semifinals. The Timbers last trip to the semifinal was in 2007, taking the Atlanta Silverbacks to penalty kicks before falling in the series.
 
The Timbers ended the regular season scoring a league-high 45 goals and tied for the league-lead in fewest goals allowed (19). Portland is 6-1-8 on the road this season.
 
Since 2001, the Timbers are 9-18-8 against the Whitecaps in regular-season matchups and have a 1-14-2 mark in Vancouver. Portland was 2-1-0 against Vancouver in 2009, and claimed the Cascadia Cup - a fan-based, head-to-head derby between the Northwest rivals. The loss to the Whitecaps in the Timbers' season opener was the team's only road loss of the entire campaign. The club's lone road win over the Whitecaps took place on May 23, 2004.
 
The two clubs have met twice previously in the postseason. After being swept in a two-game series in 2002, the Timbers defeated the Whitecaps 3-1 on aggregate in the first round of the 2007 playoffs. With the series win in 2007, the Timbers advanced to their first-ever USL First Division semifinals. The Timbers are 1-3-0 in playoff matches against the Whitecaps since 2001, including a 0-2-0 playoff record in Vancouver. 
 
The Timbers host the second leg of the semifinal series on Sunday at PGE Park at 4 p.m., presented by Spirit Mountain Casino. Sunday's match will be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel. The winner of the Portland-Vancouver series will advance to the championship round against the winner of the series between the Montreal Impact and Puerto Rico Islanders.