After a disappointing home loss on April 25th, falling 2-1 to D.C. United, the Vancouver Whitecaps (5W-1D-3L) look to rebound in a Cascadia Cup clash against the Portland Timbers (2W-3D-3L) on Saturday.
The Whitecaps will be without the services of Designated Player Matias Laba against the Timbers, due to a red card the Argentine received in the D.C. United game. If head coach Carl Robinson opts to go with another 4-2-3-1 formation, expect long-time ‘Cap Gershon Koffie to slot in beside Russell Teibert in the defensive-midfield.
Another choice for Robinson on Saturday will be who will play beside Kendall Waston in the back line. Juventud loanee Diego Rodriguez is still recovering from injury, while former Timber Pa-Modou Kah has been blasted by Whitecaps supporters for numerous poor performances. 2013 and 2014 first-round draft picks Christian Dean and Tim Parker, respectively, had a strong showing in WFC2’s defence in the 1-1 draw with Sounders FC 2, and Robinson may give one a chance to shine for the senior team. If Robinson does decide to go with one of the American defenders, expect it to be the more experienced Dean, fresh off his first goal for the USA U-23s.
Despite an upcoming Canadian Championship game against FC Edmonton on Wednesday, May 6th, do not expect Robinson to rest any first team players against Portland in anticipation of the game. FC Edmonton (1W-1D-1L so far in the NASL) is considered a much weaker team than the Whitecaps, and Carl Robinson has proven from 2014 that he is willing to go with a young, Canadian lineup in Voyageurs Cup matches. Furthermore, Edmonton is facing a strong Minnesota United side on Sunday who look to earn their first win of the season in NASL play.
The Whitecaps will also aim to maintain their lead in the Supporters’ Shield and Cascadia Cup standings with a win against Portland. In the Supporters’ Shield the Whitecaps have been fortunate to maintain first, but numerous strong teams with games in hand look to topple the ‘Caps from the top. Finally, the ‘Caps aim to be the first team to win the prestigious Cascadia Cup, three consecutive times and six times total since its introduction in 2004. The Sounders and Timbers trail behind the Whitecaps five wins, having only won the Pacific-Northwest trophy thrice each.
Cascadia Cup Standings: