Can the Whitecaps take advantage of a tired Timbers team, even in Portland?NEXT GAMESaturdayVancouver Whitecaps vs. Portland Timbers8 p.m., Providence Park; TV: TSN 1/4; Radio: Bloomberg 1410 AMKEY MATCHUPSebastian Blanco vs. Ali AdnanBlanco is one of the league’s finest offensive creators. If he starts, he’ll be a threat all night. Ali Adnan is well-known for being able to get open in the rivals’ end of the field. If he has to defend more than usual, that really puts pressure on the rest of the Caps to generate offence, something the squad has not been great at this season.FIVE THINGS TO WATCH1. Inbeom’s ankleThe creative midfielder took a knock to his foot during Wednesday’s practice, but his removal from the pitch was only precautionary, according to coach Marc Dos Santos.Still, any problem with the South Korean’s skill set is the last thing the Caps need right now. They’ve misfired in driving offence and Hwang Inbeom is one of the few players who has been able to push play in the right direction.
The Vancouver Whitecaps will need midfielder Inbeom Hwang to be in form to push the offence, but he was taken off during Wednesday’s practice after a knock to the foot.
Anne-Marie Sorvin /
USA TODAY Sports
2. Portland’s playoff pushThe Timbers sit eighth in the west. Their offence has been middling for most of the MLS season. Their defence isn’t anything to write home about.They are an example of what a fine-line team looks like. They’re good enough to be in the mix for the playoffs, but nothing about them screams they have the depth or tools to do much in them.That said, they’re playing at home and they know there’s everything to push for against the Caps, including Cascadia Cup points and pride.3. Fredy factorIt’s been a difficult year for the veteran striker. Montero has struggled to bang home his chances and has struggled to mesh with the rest of the lineup. His Seattle coffee shop held its grand opening on Sunday and surely he’d like to head north after the game, leading a triumphant parade.4. Cup correctionThe Timbers lost midweek to Minnesota United in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. How will they rebound from Wednesday’s setback?They also played last Sunday — a league match against the same Loons — so Saturday’s game against Vancouver comes at the end of a busy week. The Caps could benefit from this scheduling.A win for the Whitecaps would also put them in the driver’s seat for the Cascadia Cup, with just one match left to play, between Portland and Seattle on Aug. 23. A loss would eliminate the Caps and give the Timbers a leg up, given they’re hosting the Sounders in two weeks’ time.5. Goal time for Bair?The Kid says he’s not pressing despite four starts now and no goals. The chances have been there.With Portland’s defence not much of a force this year, maybe playing wingman to Yordy Reyna — if he starts, which is possible — and Fredy Montero will be the tonic to get him off the schneid.PREDICTED STARTING XIsWHITECAPS (4-3-3)Reyna — Montero — BairInbeom — Teibert — RoseAdnan — Cornelius — Godoy — NerwinskiGoalkeeper: CrepeauTIMBERS (4-2-3-1)FernandezLoría — Valeri — BlancoParedes — CharaMoreira — Mabiala — Cascante — VillafañaGoalkeeper: ClarkSICK BAYWhitecaps: Jasser Khmiri (knee), Lass Bangoura (adductor), Doneil Henry (back).Timbers: Marco Farfan (knee), Jeff Attinella (shoulder).firstname.lastname@example.org/risingactionCLICK HERE to report a typo. Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email email@example.com.