Pre-match: Bringing Chainsaws to Rose City

Right. So at this point, the Whitecaps’ good fortunes can’t just be flukes. Unbeaten in eight, Vancouver has had themselves a decent run in the league, with a 4-1 victory in the Canadian Championship also looking to boost hopes of a successful season.

Despite how much has been bemoaned about the Whitecaps’ lack of attacking talent, it looks like they’re performing better on shoestring options rather than with a wealth of choices. If it wasn’t for improperly replacing Cavallini this season, we may have never discovered the talents of Simon Becher, who is currently sitting at 6 goal contributions in nine games across all competitions. Not an easy feat for any player, especially one who is breaking out in the way the young American has.

The loss of both Sergio Cordova and Cristian Dajome honestly made things worse, and having a sparse number of wins made it look like it was going to be a flat season for Vancouver, but their form has definitely picked up as of late.

Now, they’re about to embark on one of their most important stretches this season- a double header rivalry matchup with Cascadian opponents Portland and Seattle. Before getting to the current CCL holders though, Vancouver must get through Portland, who have been massively underwhelming this season so far. This team is unrecognizable when compared to the team that won MLS is Back and much more their MLS cup winning team in 2015. It’s a free-scoring Portland side, but one that lacks defensive stability and thus have conceded the most goals in the west and are joint second in goals against overall. They beat Seattle in dramatic fashion, winning 4-1 at Providence Park, where they have a record of two wins, two draws, and one loss.

The Whitecaps will be fighting against hostile fan environments along with a decent team that has spread their goals around them. Portland will be looking for blood, given that they lost to RSL at home this same week, and the Whitecaps have to look to add to their misery in order to take control of the Cascadia Cup, as Portland and them are tied for that first place spot.

Being able to build some momentum before receiving Seattle at home is crucial for Vancouver, in that case. It’s not an easy task by any means, but there is a genuine belief that the Whitecaps can stroll up to Providence Park and take an away win, or at the very least, a draw. The Timber’s defense, on paper, is not something to overlook. While they have shipped a lot of goals, they are also have a positive duel win percentage, and Zac McGraw is currently sitting on twenty interceptions this season. The Whitecaps then have to make sure they aren’t trying to force too many dribbles and be precise with their passes. Gauld is certainly the player to do this, and if White can play as a true nine, it should be enough to see the ‘Caps get the victory.

I see the Whitecaps pulling a 1-0 victory at the expense of Portland tonight. What are your thoughts? Will Portland put up a fight? Answer below.

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