David Milinkovic dribbles vs. Yimmi Chara in preseason at Providence Park

There’s no place like home.

And while Marc dos Santos said they’re feeling comfortable in Rose City, the Vancouver Whitecaps will absolutely not be “home” at Providence Park against the Portland Timbers Sunday (10 pm ET | TSN2, MLS LIVE on ESPN+).

“The people that are going to watch the game on TV are going to see more blue and white probably in the stands because of the technology,” the Whitecaps coach said in a video conference call with reporters Friday. “But at the end of the day, when you’re on the field playing in their stadium stadium, against them, even if its empty, you’re not playing home.”

Dos Santos was asked about the corner kick flags and if the Whitecaps would utilize the home locker room at Providence Park Sunday.

Coming off a 6-0 drubbing by LAFC Wednesday, and facing a Timbers squad coming off a 1-0 rivalry win over Seattle which took them level with the Sounders atop the Western Conference table, the ‘Caps coach said he has larger worries.

“After the game against [LAFC] and preparing [for] Portland, the last thing I think about is where flags are going to be and where we are going to change,” he said. “I think that’s the last of my concerns right now. I don’t know where where flags are going to be and i don’t really care about that. I don’t know if we’re going to use the home locker room.”

Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Whitecaps will call Providence “home” for the remainder of the regular season. There’s familiarity, with Vancouver spending the second part of their preseason in February there. And there’s hospitality, from “top notch facilities” at the University of Portland to the hotel staff, dos Santos said. 

The proximity to Vancouver is also beneficial.

“It gives security to the players and the staff about their families,” dos Santos said. “it gives security about where their families are at and they can reach their families quickly if there is an emergency.”

The Whitecaps will play seven additional “home” games at Providence Park in the next six weeks. Dos Santos said there could be a slight advantage against Real Salt Lake or the LA Galaxy in due time.

But certainly not against the Timbers.

“Maybe it can be a better advantage if we’re able to train there more times and we play Salt Lake there or we play against LA Galaxy there. I would say it’s 60 percent home for us, 40 percent away,” dos Santos said. “But right now, it’s 100 percent an away game when you play Portland at Providence Park.”