Timbers, Whitecaps square off today in Vancouver

The Timbers wrap up the regular season today against the Northwest-rival Whitecaps on the road at 4 p.m. Catch a live broadcast on 750 KXL or watch a live video webcast. Follow in-game updates on Twitter.

Click here for today's match notes.

Starters:
POR: GK Cronin, D Joy, D Keel, D Smith, D Purdy, M Pore, M Marcelin, M Alhassan, M Nimo, F Dike, F Muhamadu

VAN: GK Nolly, D Forko, D Bellisomo, D Janicki, D Knight, M Wagner, M Nash, M Dunsfield, M Davies, F Chiumiento, F Mobulu

Playoff Update:
In the battle for playoff positioning, the Timbers can finish the season as high as third place in the league standings with a win today IF Rochester falls on the road to AC St. Louis AND Portland can makeup two goals in goal differential. Rochester is currently at +13, while the Timbers are +11. If the Timbers finish the season in fourth place, they will face either Carolina or Vancouver in the first round of the playoffs. IF Carolina wins the NASL Conference the Timbers will face Vancouver, but if Vancouver wins the NASL Conference, Portland will take on Carolina in the first round. The format for the USSF Division-2 Pro League playoffs features a two-game (home-and-home) series, aggregate-goals series for the first, semifinal and championship rounds. For the first round, seeds will be paired as follows - 1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6, 4 v 5. The winners of the first round advance to semifinals, which will be held Oct. 13-17. The 2010 USSF D-2 Pro League championship series will be held over two weekends, Oct. 23-24 and Oct. 30-31.

Match Preview:

On the road for a fourth consecutive weekend, the Portland Timbers close out the 2010 USSF Divison-2 Pro League regular-season, and their final season as a lower-division club, today against Northwest-rival the Vancouver Whitecaps at Swangard Stadium.
 
With a playoff berth in hand, the Timbers secured a position in the league’s top four with a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace Baltimore in their last match Sept. 25. Portland sits in third place in the USL Conference and fourth in the overall league standings. The top eight clubs in the league advance to the postseason, which begins the week of Oct. 4. The eight-team playoff field has already been set. Joining the Timbers are Rochester, Vancouver, Austin, Carolina, Puerto Rico, Minnesota and Montreal.
 
Portland’s opponent for the first round of the playoffs, which is a two-game, aggregate-goals series, will be determined during the final weekend of the regular season.

The Timbers enter today’s contest on a season-long, nine-match unbeaten streak. During the unbeaten run, the Timbers’ backline, which ranks second in the league in fewest goals allowed (21), has recorded six shutouts and conceded just four goals. In the win over Baltimore, the Timbers set a new modern-franchise record for consecutive minutes played without allowing a goal at 497 minutes.

On the road during its unbeaten run, Portland has posted a 4-0-1 record on the road and has allowed only a single goal in those five contests away from PGE Park.

The Timbers and Whitecaps meet for the 45th time (including regular-season and postseason) since 2001. In 2010, the Timbers are 2-0-1 through three of the four games in the regular-season series. The two sides last met July 22 in Vancouver, and the Timbers came away with their first road victory over the Whitecaps since May 23, 2004. Defender Mamadou Danso delivered the game-winning strike in the 2-1 victory, which broke an 11-match winless streak at Swangard Stadium for Portland. Midfielder Ryan Pore scored twice in a 2-1 win over the Whitecaps at PGE Park on April 29. The two sides battled to a hard-fought, scoreless draw in the Rose City on July 3.

 
Since 2001, the Timbers are 11-18-9 all-time against the Whitecaps in regular-season matches, with a 2-14-2 record in Vancouver. Portland, however, is unbeaten in its last five regular-season matchups against the Whitecaps.
 
With a winning record against the Whitecaps this season, the Timbers have captured the 2010 Cascadia Cup, winning the fan-based derby for a second straight season. Started in 2004, the Cascadia Cup was originally a competition between United Soccer Leagues’ Seattle Sounders, Portland and Vancouver. The cup is awarded to the team with the best record in head-to-head matchups between the Northwest clubs. All three clubs will compete for the cup once again in 2011 when the Timbers and Whitecaps join Seattle Sounders FC in MLS.