The Vancouver Whitecaps will get a chance to silence some critics, and earn a little redemption when they take on the Portland Timbers on Saturday. Remember, the last time these two teams met it was humiliating for the Whitecaps, who were shut out 3-0 within the confines of BC Place. Now, with a one point lead on the Timbers and the end of the regular season quickly approaching, the Whitecaps must find a way to grab at least a point, or they could miss the post-season for the second straight year.
The Timbers used a Gaston Fernandez goal in the 76th minute to equalize with the Colorado Rapids 2-2 in Colorado, while the Vancouver Whitecaps were topped 2-1 by FC Dallas. You can look at that one of two ways; either the Whitecaps were lucky the Timbers only gained a point, or they're bums for letting an opportunity to move 4 points up on sixth pass them by.
Can the Whitecaps score goals?
The last time these two teams met, it seemed like perfect timing to snap a two game goalless drought. After all, the Whitecaps were playing an important game at home, and against a team that's given up a lot of goals this season. The Whitecaps ended up getting shut-out again, and this time around isn't going to be any easier.
That being said, they've been playing better as of late. They had a strong outing against San Jose in which they scored twice, and they followed that up with a solid, extremely competitive match in Dallas where they really could've won if Darren Mattocks could have found the back of the net. It'll be interesting to see if Mattocks gets another chance in the starting lineup against the Timbers, although I would certainly hesitate to pencil him in there. Omar Salgado hasn't played in a long time, and I think we've all seen enough of Mattocks and his continual fumbling of good scoring chances. Why not give the lanky Texan a try? He hasn't looked amazing in his sample size of appearances, but at this point, Mattocks simply isn't getting the job done. As for Erik Hurtado, I imagine the goal he scored is good enough to work his way back into the starting lineup.
The Biggest Match of the Season
As Whitecap fans, we're all used to disappointment, we're all used to crushing defeat. When there is a match the Whitecaps absolutely must win, they've historically crapped the bed. When Carl Robinson took this team over, I'm sure many were hoping for a clean slate, for a Whitecaps team that was ready to rise to the challenge, not shrink because of it. The Whitecaps could have done themselves a huge favor by getting something out of the Timbers match almost a month ago, but now they have to march into hostile territory for the second match in a row and pray for, at the very least,a single point. If the Whitecaps can harness some energy up front, this is a match where they could really do some damage. The Whitecaps have already scored four against them when they beat them for the first ever time in their MLS existence in June. Then again, the Whitecaps just don't have the swagger, or firepower they did earlier in the season. This match really is a toss-up.
Predicted Score: I want to say 1-0 very badly, but I'm going with a 1-1 draw