Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps | Audi MLS Cup Playoffs Conference … – MLSsoccer.com
PORTLAND TIMBERS v VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Sun., Nov. 1, Providence Park (5 pm ET; ESPN / ESPN Deportes; TSN1/RDS)
Having survived the most dramatic penalty shootout in MLS history, the Portland Timbers now face a familiar foe in Cascadia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps FC when the clubs kick off their Western Conference Semifinal Series on Sunday at Providence Park. The Timbers scored a dramatic extra-time equalizer — then won the shootout which lasted 11 rounds, an MLS round — in dispatching Sporting Kansas City in the Knockout Round on Thursday evening in Portland. Whitecaps FC kick off the third postseason appearance of their MLS history, after finishing in second place in the Western Conference in the regular season.
REFEREE: Allen Chapman
AR1 (bench): George Gansner; AR2 (opposite): Brian Dunn
4th: Sorin Stoica
WARNINGS (suspended next yellow card): POR: Liam Ridgewell, Rodney Wallace, George Fochive, Diego Valeri
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: POR 6 wins, 23 GF … VAN 2 wins, 15 GF … Ties 6
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: First meeting.
- The Timbers are in the Western Conference Semifinals for the second time in three seasons after surviving the longest penalty kick shootout in MLS history. “This season, this is what we’ve been about. All the way to the end, coming from behind, doing something when people have written us off and weíve shown it again today. The post and some other things might have saved us, but we stuck together. We fully deserved it,” said defender Liam Ridgewell.
- The Timbers have not lost in their last four games in all competitions now, after ending the regular season with a three-game winning streak.
- “It was a wonderful game. Great showcase for the league. Lots of drama, goals, physicality, tension, everything you want, all wrapped up in one. So itís great for the league,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “I’m real proud of my team and real glad to be on the winning end. We look forward to now a series with Vancouver who is a very good team. We can’t celebrate this win long. Tomorrow we wake up and we are back to work and we need to get turned around quick.”
- Rodney Wallace scored the first MLS Cup Playoffs goal of his career, giving the Timbers the lead in the second half. … Maximiliano Urruti came off the substitutes’ bench in an MLS Cup Playoffs match for a third time in his three seasons in Portland, netting his first postseason goal. Urruti has played a total of 99 minutes in the playoffs.
- “We’ve got guys who want to win and they’re hungry. We got plays from different guys today to win the game. But we needed those plays and thatís what ultimately the difference was,” said Porter.
- Jack Jewsbury was given the start in the center of midfield, playing the full 120 minutes. Diego Chara did not feature in the match, after being forced off early in the second half of the regular season finale with an injury.
- “I thought Jack did a good job, but we also know we can switch it up. We can go with two holding mids. … If you watch Darlington [Nagbeís] positioning sometimes itís two holdings mids, sometimes itís two attacking mids and we worked a lot on that. When we are high up the pitch itís two attacking mids. Where he can press, where he can get in the final third, where he can link with Valeri and he’s higher,” said Porter. “The deeper we got the lower he got and the more he dropped in and I thought we managed him moving between the lines very well on both sides of the ball.”
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
- Whitecaps FC put an end to a five-game winless run — their longest of the season in league play — in their season-finale victory against Houston, their first since Sept. 9.
- Whitecaps FC are guaranteed of playing host to an MLS Cup Playoffs game for the first time, in the second leg of the semifinal tie. Both of their previous postseason matches have been on the road (at LA Galaxy and FC Dallas). “It’s a great achievement, I’m really proud of the guys and of the club. I firmly believe we recruited a good group of players and we could do something big. We are in the playoffs for the second year in a row, and for the third time in the club’s history. We will try to win it. There will be eight teams that will try to win, we just want to see how far we can go,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson.
- Kekuta Manneh scored his seventh goal of the season, his first Aug. 15 when he netted twice vs. Sporting KC. It was a single-season career-high for Manneh, surpassing the six goals scored in his rookie season of 2013.
- “It was great for me to score that goal. It lifted the team up and opened up the game. We were fortunate to have two more goals. It was great for my confidence as well going into the playoffs. I told the media earlier, it would be great if we can have at least two different people score,” Manneh said.
- Mauro Rosales came off the substitutes’ bench after missing out entirely on the second FC Dallas match and recorded his third assist of the season, his first since July 26 when he scored his lone goal and added an assist vs. San Jose.
- Whitecaps FC scored a goal from a corner kick, their ninth this season from a set piece (league leaders: D.C. United and New England, 12). But Whitecaps FC allowed just four goals from deadball situations, fewest in MLS this season. “Set pieces, they are very important because the games are so close, especially in the playoffs. Set pieces are going to be an important thing for us and for any team,” said center back Kendall Waston, who netted his first goal since July 26 from the corner.
- Whitecaps FC enter the postseason as the youngest team in MLS, with an average age of just less than 25 years of age. “People sometimes donít believe you can actually build a team with young players and be successful but I firmly did and the club did a fantastic job backing me on that. The players bought into it from day one and we produced two years of very good football,” said Robinson