As the 2010 regular-season winds down and the Timbers prepare for the playoffs, defender Scot Thompson shares his thoughts on the Portland-Vancouver rivalry, playing at Swangard Stadium and the showdown this weekend in a Q&A with PortlandTimbers.com.
It’s an exciting way to end the regular-season – against the Whitecaps and on the road no less. With the rivalry and the added pressures that the final game of the regular-season brings with postseason standings, what type of atmosphere is the team expecting to face on Saturday?
Scot Thompson: The atmosphere will be energetic with both sides feeling their fans’ support. Swangard (Stadium) is never an easy place to play but the team is physically and mentally prepared and is looking to continue momentum going into playoffs. We are expecting Vancouver to come out fired up since we beat them last time.
You’ve been with the Timbers since 2004 and have played in many matches against the Whitecaps. When you hear “Portland-Vancouver rivalry,” is there a match or moment that sticks out most in your mind that defines the rivalry between the two clubs?
ST: 2007 was the most prevalent for me – we had gone down 1-0 in the first round of playoffs and came back home to win 3-1 aggregate. Every match with Vancouver has always been a back-and-forth slugfest with both teams fighting until the last second.
In the games you’ve played against the Whitecaps, which player would you say was the toughest to play against?
ST: (Martin) Nash and (Ansu) Toure have always been a handful when playing Vancouver. Nash would always hit these impossible 60-yard long balls to the corner and I'd be one-on-one with Toure on the top of the box. It didn't always work at PGE but up north it was very annoying to defend against.
As you gear up for the postseason and a run at a title, how much does the playoff loss to the Whitecaps in 2009 play into the motivation for not only the game this Saturday, but when we begin the postseason next week?
ST: The loss last year is always in the back of our minds, especially for how well we did during the season. Playoffs are all about peaking at the right time and even though the 2009 loss was tough, it's an entirely new team focused on a 2010 championship run.