Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Portland Timbers
Location: BC Place Stadium
Date and Time: April 9th, 10:00 pm EST, 7:00 pm PST
Watching: TSN (in Canada) & MLS Live on ESPN+ (in US)
Coming off the first win of the 2022 season, the now invigorated Vancouver Whitecaps are looking to steer the season in a positive direction. Cascadian rivals Portland can be the perfect proving ground for the Whitecaps to prove that they are in fact serious about making a second playoff push in as many years.
Portland to be fair, haven’t had much to celebrate this season either. Sitting one place above the Whitecaps, they’ve amassed six points in six games, with recent heavy defeats to FC Dallas and LA Galaxy shaking the confidence of the usually composed team. With some Yimmy Chara golazos being the only things of note for them this season, they’re also going to want to use the Whitecaps as their proving grounds to see if they can still hang with the big boys.
While Chara has been able to do what he does best, impressing in his six starts, he’s only one of five players who have scored goals for the Timbers this season, with him Bill Tulioma being the only ones with more than one goal scored for the team. Something needs to change for the 2021 MLS Cup finalists, and quick, if they are to reach the bright lights of MLS’s biggest prize.
The Whitecaps can take advantage of this insecurity, if they are able to sort out their own problems first and foremost, as if we’re talking about goal scoring then the Whitecaps have only had three to their name. A slow start to Brian White and Cavallini’s seasons have made it so a defender, a substitute winger and Cavallini himself are the only ones with just one strike each. A bully-type player like Cavallini could be the key to winning the match though, as Cavallini does a good job in getting in the opponent's heads and Portland haven’t had the cleanest disciplinary record this season as they have 3 red cards, all from their backline. This defensive instability is what cost the Timbers their previous games and could potentially win the Whitecaps the upcoming one, especially with the home crowd of BC Place being on their side.
Sartini is going to have to go with a lineup of players who can get into the heads of the Portland backline, and have the opposing backline make mistakes. It’s certainly a proving ground for both teams, with a lot on the balance and the season’s outlook also being in contention. I can see a 1-0 Victory for the Whitecaps coming tonight.
Eighty Six Forever Staff Picks:
Sam 2-1 VAN
Caleb 2-1 VAN
Andrew 1-1 DRAW
Ian 2-0 VAN