Matchday Preview: Portland look to secure Cascadia Cup in Vancouver
The Cascadia Cup will be decided, but a bigger prize is at stake when Vancouver Whitecaps FC entertain the Portland Timbers on Sunday afternoon at BC Place. With a victory, Whitecaps FC will be assured of a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs in their second MLS season, coming off a massive 4-0 home win vs. Chivas USA last time out. The Timbers can still lay claim to the Cascadia Cup with a victory, their last match a 3-0 loss at Seattle.
The Portland Timbers saw their winless skein stretched to six games, dropping a 3-0 decision to Seattle Sounders FC on Oct. 7 at CenturyLink Field. The Timbers are in eighth place in the Western Conference with 30 points from 32 games.
Highlights: Portland lose 3-0 to Sounders
- Seattle took the lead in the 25th minute. Osvaldo Alonso put in a beautiful through ball that Christian Tiffert dummied, allowing it to roll to Adam Johansson, who then crossed it toward a streaking Fredy Montero, but Mamadou Danso first deflected past goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts for an own goal.
- Sounders FC extended the lead to 2-0 when Brad Evans found Eddie Johnson wide open at the top of the penalty area, and left completely unmarked he easily put it past Ricketts for his 14th goal of the season.
- Seattle made the score 3-0 in the 62nd minute, when Montero poked his own rebound back in after a scramble in the box, beating Jack Jewsbury to it as the Timbers captain tried to clear it and putting it in for his 13th goal of the season.
- Timbers interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson made four changes to the side that played to a 1-1 draw with D.C. United at JELD-WEN Field. Donovan Ricketts returned between the posts in place of Joe Bendik, Lovel Palmer, Mamadou Danso and Diego Chara came into the side for Kosuke Kimura, Hanyer Mosquera and Steven Smith.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Lovel Palmer, David Horst, Mamadou Danso (Eric Brunner 68), Rodney Wallace - Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara - Sal Zizzo (Mike Fucito 46), Darlington Nagbe (Eric Alexander 78), Franck Songo'o - Bright Dike.
The Timbers saw their bid to win the Cascadia Cup stalled in the heavy defeat to their arch-rivals.
“We have the mentality that next year if fortunes being different, this could be a playoff game and it means an awful lot coming into this environment and how do we cope. Are we mature enough? We learned a little tonight about certain individuals,” said Timbers interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson. “It's going to be an evaluation process through to the end of the year. It was important to see a few players in different positions so we could go into the offseason making the right decisions.”
To win the Cascadia Cup competition for 2012, Portland must beat Vancouver, while a Whitecaps FC win or draw would award the cup to Seattle.
“It's very, very important the way our season has gone. Our fans deserve a lot, lot more to be honest. That's what I'm most disappointed about, to be honest. We have such tremendous support and such great fans – we saw a lot of them here tonight - but they deserve a little bit more. I'm disappointed,” said Wilkinson.
“It was not an ideal result, so we’re professionals and we have to move on and focus on the next game,” defender David Horst said. “We still have a chance to win the Cascadia Cup, and that’s what our goal is right now. We won, tied and lost against Seattle this year. We would have liked to win all three, but that’s not always going to happen. Now we have to focus on the Cascadia Cup, and we’ve got another shot at it.”
It’s the final road game of the year for the Timbers, who are bidding to keep from becoming the fifth team in MLS history to go through an entire season without an away win. The last? Vancouver, in 2011 (also: Los Angeles, 2003; Real Salt Lake, 2005; New York, 2009).
“I think when you're on the road especially – we've talked about this all year-you have to minimize the mistakes you make defensively and when you get chances on the offensive side, make the most of them.,” said Jack Jewsbury. “I thought we had enough chances on the offensive side to get ourselves back in the game. We just weren't able to put that first one away so it's definitely disappointing, but the reality of it is that we've got another one in a couple weeks against Vancouver and that's the last bite of the apple there.”
After three games out of the side, midfielder Diego Chará returned to the lineup, playing the full match in a holding midfield spot.
Donovan Ricketts made his return to the lineup, his first appearance since suffering a shoulder injury that forced him off early Sept. 15 vs. Seattle.
Following three consecutive starts in a midfield role, Rodney Wallace returned to left back, playing the full 90 minutes.
“This is an experiment to look at next year. Steven (Smith) has had tight hamstrings and we're coming into an environment where the pace of the game is such that we're expecting to get a little more out of Rodney. He's also done very, very well for us. He played left back against Seattle at home. Steven has also done well,” said Wilkinson. “It was a tough decision based on the health of the players, the direction of the team. We've got some decisions to make about players so it's important to put Rodney in this environment and see how he did.”
Mamadou Danso made his first start since July 21, coming into central defense and playing 68 minutes.
- “I think maybe there was a little bit of unfamiliarity. Those two haven't played together an awful lot. [When] you make a change in the middle of the back obviously there are a few concerns and chemistry is one of them,” said Wilkinson.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC put an end to their seven-game winless streak in their last match, a resounding 4-0 win against Chivas USA on Oct. 3 at BC Place. Whitecaps FC are in fifth place in the Western Conference with 42 points from 32 games.
Highlights: 'Caps beat Goats 4-0
- Whitecaps FC took the lead only 11 minutes in. At the right side of the area, Kenny Miller held the ball up before passing it back for Gershon Koffie as he made a late run from midfield, and he smashed a left-footed effort past Dan Kennedy from the edge of the box into the bottom left corner.
- Ten minutes from halftime, substitute Dane Richards doubled Vancouver’s lead. Richards won possession on the right wing before playing a one-two with Camilo, whose through ball found Richards with a burst of acceleration, and the Jamaican hammered across Kennedy’s goal into the bottom left corner.
- In the 62nd minute, Barry Robson filtered a pass into Richards in the box, and he turned well before seeing his low cross from the left deflected into the path of Camilo who banged the ball in from close range.
- On 73 minutes, Camilo beat John Valencia with a nutmeg down the right side before hitting across goal for Robson, who hit home on the half volley after taking a touch for the final goal of the match.
- Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made two changes to the team that played to a scoreless result with Seattle Sounders FC at BC Place. Matt Watson and Camilo came into the midfield in place of John Thorrington and Darren Mattocks.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): Brad Knighton - Lee Young-Pyo, Andy O'Brien, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey - Gershon Koffie, Alain Rochat - Matt Watson, Barry Robson (Michael Nanchoff 90), Camilo (Caleb Clarke 84) - Kenny Miller (Dane Richards 18).
The 4-0 victory vs. Chivas USA was the largest for Whitecaps FC in their two seasons in Major League Soccer.
“It’s been the performance we’ve been waiting for for a long time,” captain Jay DeMerit said. “It takes a certain effort from a lot of guys to do performances like tonight. For once we put a performance together – the defenders defended well, and the goalscorers went and scored goals.
It was the first victory for Whitecaps FC since a 2-1 win against Real Salt Lake on Aug. 11. Over their sevengame winless run when they went 0-5-2, the ‘Caps had scored just three goals total.
“The other week we got two goals and we have been pushing hard. We are good at home, we can score goals at home and we are sure of that, but maybe on the road were having a bit of trouble, but we are trying to make some goals away from home,” said Barry Robson.
On the defensive end, Vancouver recorded back-to-back shutouts for the first time since July 4-7. Whitecaps FC now have 11 clean sheets on the season, tied for third-most in MLS.
Following his scuffed chance late against Seattle, Camilo was given the start and scored one goal while setting up two others.
“The highs and lows of soccer,” Rennie said. “We saw Camilo, the disappointment of the chance he missed on Saturday. Tonight he was involved in every goal. He had two goals and an assist and played the pass to Kenny for the [opener]. What I liked about that was how our players backed him up and supported him when he had that disappointment.”
Kenny Miller scored the opening goal after just 11 minutes, but just seven minutes later he was forced off with an injury.
“Kenny set the early goal up really well and Koffie finished it excellently. We knew that they would be open when they had the ball, and it would give us a chance to catch them on the break,” said Rennie. “ … I don’t think it’s anything too major, but he felt a little bit of pain and we couldn’t risk it.”
After suffering a hamstring injury that forced him off early in the Seattle match, Darren Mattocks missed the Chivas USA game and was held out from joining the Jamaican national team for their World Cup qualifying matches. But Mattocks is listed as probable on the club’s injury report this week.
“I don’t want to go into the Portland [Timbers] game or the next game and then sit out the rest of the season, especially when it’s playoff time – so I want to make sure it’s 100 percent and I’m ready to go,” Mattocks said.
Also listed as probable is midfielder John Thorrington, who also missed the Chivas match after being forced off in the Seattle game after just 17 minutes.
“At the time when you pull a muscle you never quite know the extent of it,” Thorrington said. “It was just a frustrating moment – I think that’s the emotion that people saw – but thankfully it is not as bad an injury as I initially thought. I’m back moving, hopefully I’ll be back in training soon, and be back and available for the Portland game.”
For a fourth consecutive match, Alain Rochat filled a holding midfield role, meaning Jordan Harvey was given the start at left back.
- “Both of those guys can be starters in this league,” Rennie said. “The fact that Alain’s done so well in central midfield has given Jordan extra time and I think the fact Jordan has done so well encouraged us even more to give Alain a chance in midfield, so it’s nice to have that option.”
REFEREE: Juan Guzman. AR1 (bench): Darren Clark; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Allen Chapman
MLS Career: 20 games; FC/gm: 25.6; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 6; pens: 4
INJURY REPORT: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – PROBABLE: FW Darren Mattocks (R hamstring strain); MF John Thorrington (L hamstring strain) … PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: DF Ian Hogg (R ankle sprain); DF Chris Taylor (R hip surgery); DOUBTFUL: FW Kris Boyd (R adductor strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, Franck Songo’o
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Martin Bonjour, Camilo, Jun Marques Davidson, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey, Gershon Koffie, Darren Mattocks, Alain Rochat … POR: Kris Boyd, Hanyer Mosquera, Lovel Palmer, Kosuke Kimura, Steven Smith, Rodney Wallace
- The Cascadia Cup rivals are meeting for the third time. Goals from Portland’s Kris Boyd and Vancouver’s Darren Mattocks left the teams in a 1-1 stalemate, June 26 at Jeld-Wen Field, then Darlington Nagbe and Kenny Miller scored first-half goals to lead the Timbers to a 2-1 win Aug. 25, also in Portland.
- The Timbers won both meetings of the MLS expansion class of 2011 last year, a 2-1 victory at Jeld-Wen Field and a 1-0 triumph at BC Place.
- Coaches record: Gavin Wilkinson v VAN: P1 W1 L0 D0 … Martin Rennie vs. POR: P2 W0 L1 D1
- The Timbers opened the scoring in the 41st minute. Eric Alexander advanced the ball to Jack Jewsbury at the top of the box, and Jewsbury’s neatly placed through ball put Darlington Nagbe in perfect position to calmly finish past Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
- But Whitecaps FC pulled level before the halftime break. Vancouver defender Jay DeMerit came away with a loose ball on the right side of the area after the Timbers failed to clear a corner, eventually finding Kenny Miller for a wide open shot that he slotted past Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
- Portland restored the lead in the 55th minute when Franck Songo’o uncorked a low free kick just inside the left post that Cannon was unable to corral despite getting his hands to the shot.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-3-3): Donovan Ricketts - Kosuke Kimura, Hanyer Mosquera, David Horst, Steven Smith - Darlington Nagbe (Lovel Palmer 90), Jack Jewsbury, Eric Alexander (Rodney Wallace 9) - Sal Zizzo, Bright Dike (Danny Mwanga 86), Franck Songo'o.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): Joe Cannon - Lee Young-Pyo, Andy O'Brien (Martin Bonjour 61), Jay DeMerit, Alain Rochat - Jun Marques Davidson, John Thorrington (Darren Mattocks 65, sent off 84) - Dane Richards (Atiba Harris 85), Barry Robson, Camilo - Kenny Miller.