Timbers take on Whitecaps tonight in playoff action

The Timbers take on the Whitecaps in the opening game of their first-round playoff series tonight at 7:30 p.m. Watch the match live on FSN, listen to it on 750 KXL , watch an online video webcast or follow in-game updates on Twitter.

Click here for tonight's match notes.

Tonight's Starters:
POR: GK Cronin, D Joy, D Smith, D Keel, D Purdy, M Pore, M Marcelin, M Claesson, M Alhassan, F Dike, F DeMartin

VAN: GK Nolly, D Forko, D Bellisomo, D Janicki, D Knight, M Wagner, M Koffie, M Dunfield, M Davies, F Nash, F Arnoux

Match/Series Preview:

Finishing the regular season in the top four for the third time in the last four seasons, the Portland Timbers begin the 2010 USSF D-2 Pro League postseason and open their two-game, first-round playoff series tonight against Northwest-rival and fellow 2011 Major League Soccer expansion club the Vancouver Whitecaps.
 
On the road for a fifth straight match, the Timbers wrapped up the regular season on a season-long, 10-game unbeaten streak. During their unbeaten run down the stretch, the Timbers posted a 6-0-4 record, recorded six shutouts and out-scored opponents 15-6, paving the way for the club's seventh postseason appearance in the last 10 seasons. Portland is 4-0-2 on the road during its unbeaten run.
 
The Timbers assembled a 13-7-10 (49pts) record during the campaign, finishing with the third-highest points total in the league and in third place in the USL Conference. As the league's No. 4 seed heading into the postseason, the Timbers find themselves matched up against the Whitecaps (10-5-15, 45pts), who are the No. 5 seed, for the second consecutive postseason.
 
Portland and Vancouver raced to a 2-2 draw in the final game of the regular season for both clubs on Oct. 2 at Swangard Stadium. Midfielder Ryan Pore recorded an assist to secure the league's scoring title along with his Golden Boot award as the league’s leading goal scorer. Forward Bright Dike tallied his 10th goal of the season in the contest last weekend, becoming just the ninth different Timbers player in modern-franchise history to reach the 10-goal mark in a single season. The two goals conceded by the Timbers in the draw were the most allowed in a match since Aug. 11 against NSC Minnesota (2-2 draw).
 
In postseason play under head coach Gavin Wilkinson, the Timbers have reached the semifinals twice in the last three seasons (2007, 2009). Portland is 4-9-3 in postseason matches since 2001, including a 1-2-3 mark under Wilkinson.
 
The first-round matchup between the Timbers and Whitecaps features a rematch of the 2009 USL First Division semifinals, in which the Whitecaps edged the Timbers 5-4 on aggregate after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the second leg of the series at PGE Park. It also marks the fourth time the two rivals have met in the postseason. Of the three previous playoff series between the clubs, the Whitecaps have won two - sweeping a first-round series in 2002 and winning last season's USL-1 semifinals. The Timbers claimed a 3-1 series win on aggregate over Vancouver in the first round of the 2007 USL-1 playoffs.
 
In 2010, the Timbers were unbeaten against the Whitecaps, with a 2-0-2 record in the four-game, regular-season series and won the fan-based Cascadia cup for a second straight season. Portland handed Vancouver one of just two losses at home in 2010, winning its first road match over the Whitecaps (2-1) since the 2004 campaign on July 22. As members of USL/USSF D-2 Pro League, the two sides have met 45 times, including both regular-season and playoff contests. The Timbers are 11-18-10 against the Whitecaps in regular-season fixtures. In postseason play, the Timbers are 1-4-1 against the Whitecaps and are still seeking their first playoff victory in Vancouver. The Timbers are unbeaten in their last five games against the Whitecaps, including the draw in the second leg of the 2009 semifinal series.
 
The first-round series between Portland and Vancouver also features the top two defensive teams in the league during the regular season. The Timbers ranked second in the league in fewest goals allowed (23), while the Whitecaps allowed a league-low 22 goals.