Gio Savarese was determined not to get carried away with the Portland Timbers’ stunning win at the Seattle Sounders.
The Timbers won 3-0 at Lumen Field last week but must quickly retrain their focus on another Cascadia Cup clash, with the Vancouver Whitecaps visiting Providence Park.
“It’s another difficult and big match,” coach Savarese said. “Every game for us is important, and when you add on the rivalry of the Cascadia Cup, it makes it even more important.
“We’re looking forward to this match. What we have done in the past few weeks has been important, and we have done very well, but we have to make sure that we focus always on the task that we have in front of us.
“We must put (in) the effort that we need, execute the plan and be as competitive as we can be.
“Especially in these games, when we play at home, with our fans, these games are crucial to start accumulating points and stay competitive in the Western Conference, to continue to move hopefully up.”
The Whitecaps won in Portland last year but have twice been beaten by the Timbers at home under Vanni Sartini.
“Last year, we did it, we won,” Sartini said. “It’s not because they beat us that I circle on the calendar; I circle on the calendar because it’s a derby and it’s extra motivation for our fans, for the environment here.
“It’s a rivalry that is actually really beautiful. Also, at the moment, they are one point ahead of us, so if we go there and win, we’re going to go up. So, we’ll do everything to do it.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Portland Timbers – Jaroslaw Niezgoda
Niezgoda is enjoying a fine season, maintaining his superb scoring rate as he has netted four in his past four. That includes the opener against Seattle, as he also provided his first assist of the season. The Whitecaps will have their work cut out to contain the form man.
Vancouver Whitecaps – Ryan Raposo
Raposo has hit form at just the right time, with assists in consecutive matches before Vancouver signed a rival for his position in Julian Gressel. Raposo will get another shot this weekend, as Sartini said Gressel would not be ready to start, explaining: “In this team, if you don’t train with the team, you can’t play – even if you are Messi.”
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The Whitecaps won their last road match against the Timbers, a 3-2 victory in October 2021. The win was just Vancouver’s third away victory in Portland in MLS play (D5 L8), with the Timbers responding to each of the first two defeats with a win in the Whitecaps’ next trip.
– Portland extended their unbeaten run to a season-high five straight games (W3 D2) with a 3-0 win over Seattle on Saturday. The Timbers have taken 11 points from their past five games after collecting just 10 from their previous 12 league contests (W2 D4 L6).
– After starting the season with six straight losses on the road, Vancouver has lost just once in their past four away matches (W2 D1) following their 2-2 draw at Cincinnati on Wednesday. The match was the eighth time the Whitecaps have conceded multiple goals in a road game this season, tied for the most such games by any MLS team (with San Jose).
– The Timbers’ second goal in their 3-0 win over Seattle on Saturday came from the penalty spot. It was the fourth consecutive game in which Portland scored a penalty, the first team in MLS history to achieve that feat.
– On Wednesday, Ryan Gauld tied the match in the fifth minute, while Cristian Dajome scored a game-tying in the 82nd minute. It was the first time in MLS history that a team had a game-tying goal in the first five minutes and another one in the last 10 minutes of the same match.