Santa Monica – To end off their regular seasons, the top-seeded Vancouver Whitecaps FC will travel to Providence Park in Oregon to take on the second seeded Portland Timbers on Sunday Oct. 22 at 1 p.m.
Portland, coming off of their 4-0 shut-out against D.C. United, recently clinched their MLS Playoff Cup Berth and moved up in the Western Conference standings to second place. With momentum in their favor after their dominant performance in their home stadium, many expect the Timbers to come out strong on Sunday and continue their six home game winning streak. Eyes will be on midfielders Diego Valeri and Sebastián Blanco, both of whom had exceptional performances in the Sunday game against D.C. United. Blanco, who scored his first MLS brace, and Valeri, who clinched a goal and had two assists, dominated the match. The Timbers will look to Blanco and Valeri to repeat their performances against evenly matched Vancouver.
After a close match against the sixth seeded San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night, the Whitecaps will be looking for at least a Draw at their season finale to clinch the first place spot. The team hopes to bounce back from what many considered a disappointing performance, where they conceded a soft goal, and missed many obvious goal scoring opportunities. They were only able to convert once, with striker Yordy Reyna’s opening goal. Despite their shortcomings in their last two games, they’re definitely not going to be counted out. Many believe they are likely to take a defensive minded approach.
The upcoming match is expected to be a close one, with many predicting a Draw between the top two teams in the Western Conference. This game could potentially shake up the standings. With the Whitecaps holding only one more point than the Timbers, who hold the two spot, and the Seattle Sounders, who are in the three spot, the ‘Caps could drop as low as third place if they were to lose. With the possibility to affect the upcoming playoffs, this match will definitely be an interesting one to watch.