The Vancouver Whitecaps must win their two remaining games and hope that Colorado draws or worse in their three remaining games if they are to hope to make the playoffs. Their opponents, the Portland Timbers, do not need to win this game, as they have already clinched a playoff spot and look like they will finish comfortably in the top 4. The Whitecaps will have to hope that the motivation gap will play to their advantage.
The Vancouver Whitecaps are coming off a dour 2-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders. Marc Dos Santos chose to rest several key players in the hopes of having them fresh for the last two games of the regular season. He had better hope that works out for him. Vancouver are 3-0-3 in their last six games but have out xG’d the opponent in only one of those games so the degree to which that record signifies improvement is questionable. I don’t expect any major lineup changes from what we’ve come to expect. It will be a 4-4-2 and we’ll just have to all hope for the best.
Despite their place in the standings, Portland’s underlying data is not particularly pretty. They’re better than Vancouver, obviously, but they are a very beatable side. Portland’s expected goals against per match is the second worst in the league, better only than Vancouver’s. They’re expected goals for per match are much stronger, coming in at 11th in the league, but with Sebastian Blanco out and Jeremy Ebobisse questionable they aren’t going to be at full strength.
- OUT: M - Dairon Asprilla (left knee surgery 5/21, out for season) -
- OUT: M - Sebastian Blanco (torn ACL 9/6, out for season) -
- OUT: D - Julio Cascante (left ankle injury)
- QUESTIONABLE: F - Blake Bodily (right thigh injury)
- QUESTIONABLE: F - Jeremy Ebobisse (concussion)
- QUESTIONABLE: M - Marvin Loria (abdomen injury)
- OUT: GK - Maxime Crepeau (fractured left thumb, surgery 7/27)
- OUT: GK - Thomas Hasal (left tibia stress fracture, concussion 9/28)
- OUT: M - David Milinkovic (not medically cleared)
Vancouver (4-4-2): Bush; Adnan, Godoy, Cornelius, Nerwinski; Teibert, Owusu, Bikel, Dájome; Cavallini, Montero
Portland (4-2-3-1): Clark; Villafaña, Zuparic, Mabiala, Bonilla; D. Chara, Williamson; Y. Chara, Valeri, Flores; Niezgoda
Score Prediction: Despite my reservations, I have to make Portland slight favourites. I’m going to say 2-1 for the Timbers.