Timbers visit Whitecaps in regular-season finale

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers conclude the USSF Division-2 Pro League regular season, and their final regular season as a lower-division club, with a visit to Northwest-rival the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday; kickoff at Swangard Stadium is set for 4 p.m.

Saturday’s matchup between Portland and Vancouver is the final regular-season meeting between the two rivals as members of United Soccer Leagues/USSF D-2 Pro League. After competing as lower-division sides for the last 10 seasons, both the Timbers and Whitecaps join Major League Soccer as expansion clubs in 2011.

A live broadcast will be available on Newsradio 750 KXL, with a video webcast available at www.portlandtimbers.com/live. A special pre-game show on 750 KXL begins at 3 p.m.

The Timbers have already clinched a playoff berth and are currently ranked fourth in the overall league standings. The club secured its position in the league’s top four with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace Baltimore on Sept. 25. The top eight clubs in the USSF D-2 Pro League advance to the postseason, which begins the week of Oct. 4. The Timbers’ first-round opponent will be determined during the final week of the regular season.

Entering the weekend, the Timbers (13-7-9, 48pts) are on a season-long, nine-match unbeaten streak. During the unbeaten run, the Timbers have out-scored their opponents 13-4 and have logged six shutouts. On the road for a fourth straight week, the Timbers are 4-0-1 away from PGE Park during their unbeaten streak and have conceded just one goal in those five away matches.

Midfielder Ryan Pore continues to lead the race for the league’s scoring title and Golden Boot award heading into the final week of the regular season. He has a league-best 15 goals and 34 points, while Austin Aztex forward Eddie Johnson ranks second in both categories with 14 goals and 32 points, respectively.

The Timbers and Whitecaps (10-5-14, 44pts) square off for the fourth time this season. Through the first three matchups, the Timbers are unbeaten against their rival with a record of 2-0-1. The last time the two sides met, the Timbers claimed their first victory in Vancouver since 2004, earning a 2-1 win on a game-winning goal by defender Mamadou Danso on July 22. Since 2001, the Timbers are 11-18-9 in regular-season matches against the Whitecaps, but have a 2-14-2 record in Vancouver over the past 10 seasons. Portland is unbeaten in its last five regular-season meetings against Vancouver.

Saturday’s contest features two of the top defensive teams in the league. The Whitecaps have allowed a league-low 20 goals during the campaign, while the Timbers rank second in fewest goals allowed with 21.

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.

The USSF D-2 Pro League playoffs feature a two-game, aggregate-goal series for the first, semifinal and championship rounds. The Timbers will host their first-round, home playoff match on Sunday, Oct. 10, at Merlo Field on the University of Portland campus; kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Timbers 2010 playoff tickets are available in three-game strips for $65; all playoff tickets are general admission. Playoff ticket strips are available by calling the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555. A select number of single-game playoff tickets will be available on match day.

In a tight race for the NASL Conference title, the Whitecaps are tied with the Carolina RailHawks at the top of the conference standings at 44 points. The Whitecaps posted a 1-2-1 record in the month of Sept., which included back-to-back losses to end the month. Vancouver is 1-3-4 in its last eight games; its lone win in that span was a 3-0 road victory over Crystal Palace Baltimore on Sept. 11. Goalkeeper Jay Nolly and the Whitecaps backline allowed just two goals in the month of Sept.

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