Preview: 'Caps open new home vs. Cascadia rivals Timbers

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
October 2, 2011
4:30 p.m. ET (TSN2; ROOT-NW; watch LIVE online)

The BC Place era for Vancouver Whitecaps FC begins with another matchup against a Cascadia Cup rival, this time a visit by the Portland Timbers. Whitecaps FC have five games remaining in their inaugural MLS season, after a 3-1 loss to Seattle Sounders FC last weekend in the Empire Field finale. The other member of the expansion class of 2011, the Timbers are still in the hunt for a postseason berth, despite a 2-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls last Saturday.

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REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Craig Lowry; JAR (opposite): Peter Manikowski; 4th: David Gantar. MLS Career: 85 games; FC/gm: 26.4; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 16; pens: 30

INJURY REPORT:

  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery); DF Jonathan Leathers (R hamstring strain); GK Brian Sylvestre (L knee surgery); MF Russell Teibert (R toe laceration); PROBABLE: MF John Thorrington (L groin strain)
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: GK Adin Brown (concussion); DF Kevin Goldthwaite (L knee ACL rupture); FW Eddie Johnson (concussion); FW Spencer Thompson (R knee); PROBABLE: DF Mamadou Danso (R hamstring strain); DF David Horst (L groin strain); GK Troy Perkins (R hip soreness)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: POR: Jack Jewsbury (caution accumulation; through Oct. 2); Kalif Alhassan (through Oct. 25)

WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: VAN: Jay DeMerit, Eric Hassli, Jordan Harvey … POR: Rodney Wallace
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Michael Boxall, Jeb Brovsky, Gershon Koffie, Jonathan Leathers … POR: Kalif Alhassan, Mike Chabala, Diego Chara, James Marcelin

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME: Timbers 1 win, 2 goals … Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0
  • The teams first met in Major League Soccer on Aug. 20, Diego Chara and Jorge Perlaza scoring in the first half to pace the Timbers to a 2-1 victory at Jeld-Wen Field.
  • Coaches record: John Spencer v VAN: P1 W1 L0 T0 … Tom Soehn vs. POR: P1 W0 L1 T0

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • 8/20: POR 2, VAN 1 (Chara 2, Perlaza 31 – Camilo 88)
  • The Timbers opened the scoring with the earliest goal in their MLS history. From a turnover in midfield, Jack Jewsbury played forward to Jorge Perlaza, who then slipped it to Diego Chara in the area. He then fired a shot into the top corner of the goal past a diving Joe Cannon.
  • Portland then doubled their lead just after the half-hour. A Jewsbury free kick found defender Mamadou Danso in the area. His header deflected off a Vancouver defender -- but fell perfectly for Perlaza, who chipped home neatly from the spot.
  • Whitecaps FC pulled a goal back in the 88th minute on a wonderful effort from Camilo. Receiving a pass from Jordan Harvey in the area, he cut back away from his marker and curled a sublime right-footed shot inside the far right post.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Lovel Palmer, David Horst, Mamadou Danso (Eric Brunner 76), Mike Chabala - Sal Zizzo, Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Kalif Alhassan - Jorge Perlaza (Bright Dike 69), Kenny Cooper (James Marcelin 83).
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Jeb Brovsky, Jay DeMerit, Michael Boxall, Jordan Harvey - John Thorrington, Peter Vagenas (Mustapha Jarju 51), Gershon Koffie, Davide Chiumiento (Shea Salinas 63) - Eric Hassli (Omar Salgado 84), Camilo.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC said farewell to Empire Field in a 3-1 loss to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening.  Whitecaps FC have 22 points from 29 matches, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Whitecaps FC broke through in the 22nd minute as Camilo finished off a wonderful piece of interplay. Eric Hassli’s through ball found Davide Chiumiento, who cut back a simple ball for Camilo to tap past Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller from close range.
  • But Seattle equalized from the penalty spot after Jair Marrufo deemed Jay DeMerit handled Alvaro Fernandez's shot in the box, and Brad Evans sent the goalkeeper the other way in converting the spot kick.
  • Then Fredy Montero scored twice in the space of four minutes to put the game away. First, in the 63rd minute, he latched onto a poor clearance before firing into the top left corner past Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
  • Then in the 67th minute, Montero struck a shot from well out which took a slight deflection off DeMerit, then dipped just over ‘keeper Cannon and into the goal.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn made two changes to the team that fell 3-0 to the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Michael Boxall came into central defense for the suspended Alain Rochat, and Mustapha Jarju came back into the side for Shea Salinas.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Jonathan Leathers (Jeb Brovsky 46), Jay DeMerit, Michael Boxall, Jordan Harvey - Davide Chiumiento, Gershon Koffie, Peter Vagenas, Camilo - Mustapha Jarju (Shea Salinas 58), Eric Hassli (Long Tan 81).

TEAM NEWS

  • With the victory, Sounders FC clinched the Cascadia Cup, given to the winner of the season series between Seattle, Portland and Vancouver.
  • “There was so much more at stake with the rivalry we have with Seattle, but as far as our fans watching today, they were fantastic, seeing us off at Empire Field - we wanted to send them something to take home, but we let it slip today,” Whitecaps FC interim head coach Tom Soehn said.
  • The game will be the first at the newly renovated BC Place. The downtown stadium opened with a match between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders in the old NASL in 1983. It will also feature a new Polytan synthetic surface, considered to be one of the best for soccer.
  • “You look at the other clubs around the league, and of the turf fields, I think ours was still the best – even at Empire,” Jay DeMerit said. “It’s exciting. From what I hear, the BC Place turf is even better and a bit softer, so I know my joints will be happy about that.”
  • With Alain Rochat suspended through caution accumulation, rookie Michael Boxall returned to the side for the first time in four games, partnering DeMerit in central defense.
  • “We put him in a spot this year where he had to play a lot more than he had to,” Soehn said. “Having to watch Alain and Jay the last few games has done him some good. He’s still growing as a player, and ultimately, I think there’s a real upside to the kid on the competitive side. There’s a lot of room for growth with him and I think we can build him into something special.”
  • Camilo scored his ninth goal of the season, now one behind Eric Hassli for the team lead; partnered in attack with Mustapha Jarju, Hassli has not scored since Aug. 7.
  • “In the end, those guys had opportunities and you expect those guys to finish those,” Soehn said. “After the half, Eric did a much better job of holding the ball for us, but ultimately, we created opportunities but just didn’t bury them.”
  • Jarju returned to the starting lineup after coming off the substitutes’ bench for two games. He has appeared in six consecutive games, starting two.
  • “My running and my sharpness is coming back, but I was disappointed to get those couple of chances and not put it in the net,” Jarju said. “It’s very difficult, because normally when I get those chances, I always put it in the back of the net, but sometimes it happens in football, maybe today is not my day. Hopefully, I can get a couple of goals before the end of the season.”

PORTLAND TIMBERS

The Portland Timbers saw their playoff hopes take a bit of a dent, falling to a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Timbers have 37 points from 30 games, in sixth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Red Bulls took the lead after 21 minutes. Joel Lindpere received the ball on the left wing laying the ball off for Dane Richards. He then rounded his defender to get to the endline before cutting toward goal and firing a low shot from close range inside the far post.
  • New York sealed the result midway through the second half. From a corner kick, Thierry Henry fired a shot that appeared headed into the back of the goal but was handled by Kalif Alhassan. Referee Alex Prus immediately gave the penalty and showed Alhassan a straight red card, then Luke Rodgers finished with a drive into the roof of the goal from the spot.
  • Timbers coach John Spencer made one change to the team that was pegged back into a 1-1 draw by the San Jose Earthquakes at PPL Park. Eric Alexander came into the midfield for Sal Zizzo.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-3-2): Troy Perkins - Lovel Palmer, Mamadou Danso, Eric Brunner, Mike Chabala - Diego Chara - Eric Alexander (Sal Zizzo 46), Jack Jewsbury, Kalif Alhassan (sent off 64) - Darlington Nagbe (Bright Dike 76), Kenny Cooper (Jorge Perlaza 71).

TEAM NEWS

  • With the loss, the Timbers fell out of the final wild card spot, two points behind New York with four games remaining to be played.
  • “We’re sitting on 37 points right now. If we were sitting at 20 points then I would say as a team we’re way off what’s good enough to play in this league. But we’re not. There’s if’s and but’s, I know that, but if you look at it points-wise, the table doesn’t lie. We’ve got 37 points, we’re right in the mix,” said Timbers head coach John Spencer.
  • The Timbers have won just once in 14 games away from Jeld-Wen Field. After the match in Vancouver, they return home to face Houston before finishing the season at D.C. United and Real Salt Lake.
  • “Over the course of the year, we’ve been a good team – a very good team at home – and not so good away. So for us, it’s important that the next game, this 90 minutes on Sunday, we need to try to get them. We’re going to have to have a real good performance,” said Spencer.
  • Added said midfielder Jack Jewsbury: “At the end of the day it’s one game. We know we have three more road games and the fact of the matter is we’re going to have to get some results on the road to make the playoffs and I think everyone in this locker room knows that.”
  • Spencer will be missing two vital midfield pieces with captain Jewsbury and Kalif Alhassan both suspended for the Vancouver game.
  • Eric Alexander, acquired in a trade with FC Dallas for defender Jeremy Hall in August, made his first start for Portland in a league game.
  • “We’ve got good players that will come in and play for them,” Spencer said. “Eric Alexander will be contention to play. James Marcelin will be in contention to play. The guys that are here we believe are good players and that’s why you have a squad of players that if you have injuries and suspensions then someone will come in and play. So I don’t have any worries about it.”
  • Strikers Kenny Cooper and Darlington Nagbe were both removed for the final quarter-hour of the game in New York, with Portland being shut out for a second time in the last 11 games.
  • “Before New York, we were on a great run,” Cooper said. “I think that the team showed quality all throughout the field with shutouts and getting some goals, so hopefully with these last four games we can get back to [our] winning ways and show that great quality we showed before the New York game. I have a ton of confidence in Darlington; I think he’s an incredible talent. He doesn’t just put the ball in the back in the net, he’s incredibly dangerous, and I think a lot of people would enjoy playing with him.”