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Coffee with the Caps, Friday April 8

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Portland Timbers Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all are having a good week and are nearing a well-deserved weekend break.

Ahead on the docket is the first Cascadia showdown of the season, as the Caps host Portland on Saturday evening. Of course, derby matches bring an extra jolt of energy and this one will be no exception (though off the field scandal appears to be one other thing uniting the two clubs at the moment).

Portland are always a tough out but one only has to think back to the glorious evening at Providence Park last time out, where the Caps turned around a 2-0 deficit to claim all three points. Moving back to BC Place can’t hurt, right? ... right? Plus, perhaps the Timbers will think Vanni Sartini has some sort of dark arts working against them, given the last comeback.

Sartini himself has termed it a “must-win game,” which seems a bit strong for this point in the season but I see his point. Vancouver could easily kick on and become the team many of us hoped, particularly with a new acquisition and a bit better injury/fitness luck.

But they can still grind out results and remain in the playoff race for the time being merely by ensuring they take advantage of their home matches, always vital in MLS. They’ve done a good job of that already, drawing with a superior NYCFC side and then opening their win column up last weekend.

Meanwhile, Portland have struggled away from home, failing to win in either of their road games to date. A 3-1 loss to LA Galaxy (complete with a Pablo Bonilla red card) at Providence Park is a sign their form isn’t excellent now, regardless of where the match is being played.

All-in-all, this should make for an entertaining fixture, even if both teams are trying to figure a lot out. There aren’t a ton of chances to get the type of lift that only beating a rival can provide and doing just that will give Vancouver momentum heading into a more manageable run of fixtures (including a few more rivalry matchups).

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