Shorthanded Timbers, Whitecaps collide at Vancouver
Facing a Vancouver Whitecaps team that seems to be finding its stride, the Portland Timbers on Sunday will shoot for only their third road win of the season.
The match starts at 3:30 p.m. at BC Place.
The Timbers (7-8-6) have not won since June 10, a string of six games, and are coming off one of their poorest performances in recent memory. They are 2-6-2 away from home this season.
As was the case in Wednesday's 4-1 loss to Real Salt Lake, Portland coach Caleb Porter will be challenged to put out a lineup that can match that of a healthy and confident opponent.
The list of available field players is less than 14, so the Timbers have used the MLS extreme hardship rule to sign Timbers 2 defender Harold Hanson and forward Augustine Williams to short-term MLS contracts. Both figure to be on the bench at Vancouver.
Still away on international duty are midfielders Darlington Nagbe and David Guzman, right back Alvas Powell and forward Darren Mattocks.
Suspended because of red cards are forwards Fanendo Adi and Victor Arboleda.
The injury list still includes Liam Ridgewell and Amobi Okugo, along with fullbacks Chance Myers and Marco Farfan, both out with left-ankle injuries.
Unknown is whether left back Vytas or defensive midfielder Diego Chara will be able to play. Neither was in the lineup on Wednesday because of lingering hamstring injuries.
As for the T2 reinforcements, Hanson is an 18-year-old outside back who has made 12 appearances for T2 this season and played for the Timbers in their U.S. Open Cup loss to Seattle. Williams, 19, scored the Timbers' only goal in that loss and has scored two goals in 17 United Soccer League appearances this season for T2.
Vancouver, Portland and Seattle are tied with 27 points, technically fourth in the Western Conference. But the Timbers' 1.29 points per game is eighth-best in the conference, and the Whitecaps have played three fewer matches than Portland.
Vancouver (8-7-3) will be without defender Kendall Waston because of Gold Cup duty. Uncertain is whether Canadian national team members Sam Adekugbe, Alphonso Davies, Marcel de Jong and Russell Teibert will be available. Canada lost on Thursday in the Gold Cup quarterfinals.
Another lineup question is if Peruvian attacking midfielder Yordy Reyna will start for the Whiitecaps. He has come off the bench in three consecutive games after missing the first 15 because of injury.
Vancouver is 3-1-2 in its last six matches, including consecutive wins over New York City and the Los Angeles.
In the Cascadia Cup standings, Portland and Seattle are 1-1-1 (four points) and Vancouver is 1-1 (three).
The Timbers beat the Whitecaps in Portland in April and will play host to Vancouver in the final match of the season on Oct. 22.