Game 33 Whitecaps/ Colorado Rapids Game Intro
The Vancouver Whitecaps have soared this year, and they have been in near collapse, but despite their inconsistency they now stand on the threshold of clinching a first ever playoff place for a Canadian team in MLS.
FC Dallas has put pressure on the ‘Caps for a stretch, but have stumbled themselves lately, allowing Vancouver to put itself back in pole position in the Western Conference for the fifth and final post-season berth with a win today at BC Place. A loss by the Texans would also benefit the West coast crew.
The Timbers have endured a frustrating year, with little sign of the targeted improvement they had sought with a playoff run of their own. However, the rivals would surely love to impede the dreams of their northern neighbours and take home the regional Cascadia Cup.
The Timbers feature their own Scottish striker in Kris Boyd, who has faced the Whitecaps’ Kenny Miller several times over the years, but he has lingering leg issues and is likely to miss the game for a Portland team that has struggled to score.
Darlington Nagbe has been their most consistent player this year, and has already scored against Vancouver this season.
He will therefore be the most likely constant threat to Jay DeMerit and the rest of the ‘Caps back line.
The re-emergence of Donovan Ricketts and his imposing frame in goal will present a big obstacle for the Vancouver forwards as he seeks to establish himself following his recent injury marred form.
A number of other Timbers players will be playing for places in next year’s squad and will be eager to impress.
The 4-0 win over the admittedly weak Chivas USA last time out gave the beleaguered Whitecaps a much needed shot of adrenaline and they should have little excuse to come out flat on this occasion.
The extended break for World Cup qualifying may have robbed the team of some of their momentum, but the surge of emotion from the fans should help lift the Van City crew.
Darren Mattocks is touch and go as a possibility for selection, but Camilo has returned to the glowing form he displayed last year, managing to score and create goals once again to conjure up memories of his 2011 vintage.
Kenny Miller is an able figure and his experience will be vital in locking down the post-season slot.
If Vancouver is likely to pose a threat in the coming playoff run, then they will need to take it to Portland in this match.
A flop here, no matter how FC Dallas fares, would be devastating to the team’s confidence.
An inspired Vancouver will put together a 2-0 victory.
Whitecaps FC striker Darren Mattocks comments after training