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Three Questions with: Stumptown Footy

We got in touch with our Cascadia rivals for some pre match info on the Timbers

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Anytime Cascadia rivals go to battle, it is an event that the entire MLS community watches with an eager eye. Today we have Portland visiting Vancouver, guaranteeing an amazing atmosphere at BC Place and hopefully a great match on the pitch. We got in touch with Will Conwell from Stumptown Footy to get his take on whats going down in Timber town.

1) In your first 6 games you had 5 points, but in the last 3 you've gained 7. What's been the main thing that has improved with the Timbers recently?

The Timbers were riddled with injuries and absences to start the season, particularly along the back line. This would be an issue for any team, of course, but the strength of the Timbers has been in their ability to lock down the back before bursting forward, so any cracks in the defense leave the whole side needing to compensate.

Recently, however, the Timbers have started to get healthy and, as a result, they have finally gained some measure of consistency along the back line, giving them something off of which to build. Alvas Powell may still be out, but the team's current back four of Zarek Valentin, Nat Borchers, Liam Ridgewell, and Chris Klute has finally had a chance to build some chemistry.

2) Obviously the Timbers will be doing their all to defend their MLS Cup this season; however, outside of that, what Trophy up for grabs do you think Caleb Porter has as a priority?

Caleb Porter would answer that question by saying that the Timbers come into every match looking to win.

That being said, the Timbers are certainly putting a high priority on the CONCACAF Champions League this season after failing to make it out of the group stage in their previous appearance in the competition. The Timbers have built up some significant depth on their roster and with the rocky start to the season that depth has already been called on.

When the 2015-16 CCL tournament does kick off, the Timbers are hoping to leave their mark on the competition and do what no MLS team has done: win the whole thing.

3) Do you expect former Whitecap Darren Mattocks to start against Vancouver, and what do you expect his role to be for Portland both in this game and the rest of the season?

Who starts on the wing opposite Lucas Melano has been a question for the Timbers all season so far, but coming into this match the assumption has to be that Mattocks will get the start. Although he came off early against Toronto FC last weekend, Mattocks has shown his mettle out on the wing during his short time with the Timbers, bringing a willingness to go at players and a surprising amount of defensive effort to the pitch.

In this match, Mattocks, like Melano, will be a release valve for the Timbers. Porter and company will almost certainly look to lock down the back line and hit the 'Caps on the counter, which will require Mattocks to both play off of and support Fanendo Adi in the attack, as well as getting back and helping out his fullback in keeping the Whitecaps from working the ball inside from the flanks.

Beyond this match, it remains to be seen who the Timbers view as their long-term group in the attack and whether that involves Mattocks in a starting role, but to date he has shown that he can do the job and a strong showing here against his former side would certainly go a long way toward solidifying his standing in the side.