The Vancouver Whitecaps vs Timbers preview for Saturday night from BC Place. will be the first Cascadia Cup clash of the season. Vancouver is coming off their first win of the season against Sporting KC 1-0. In case you missed any of the action check out the full recap here. It was an important win for the Whitecaps who moved out of the MLS Western Conference basement.
Ryan Raposo got his first MLS to start at BC Place and didn’t disappoint with a 73rd-minute goal that proved to be the winner. Thomas Hasal made some key saves for his second clean sheet of the season in 5 matches. Tristan Blackmon had another great match and was named to MLS Team of the Week for the sweat and blood he left out on the pitch. Most importantly Ryan Gauld and Brian White were both back healthy and looked just as dangerous as they left off last year.
The Portland Timbers are coming off a 3-1 loss to the LA Galaxy at home. An early goal from Chicharito gave LA a 9th minute 1-0 lead before an OG from Bill Tuiloma just 7 minutes later. Tuiloma would make up for his mistake in the second half but Chicharito would add a second to put things out of reach for the Timbers. With the loss, they fall to 1-2-3 through 6 matches.
Vanni Sartini’s On The Week That Was And The Match Ahead
I asked Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini what were some of the things he liked from last week and what were some of the things he didn’t like.
“Very much the way that we pressed I think it was very good. I think we didn’t concede any on the build-up for the other team. I like the way that we build up very, I would say practical, applying our principles or playing our part in plays and I think we did these two things very well. And that reflected in all the stats, you know, the, you know, the, I would say numbers that even we had after the game and also the sensation that we, I would say we basically dominated the game”
He was also critical about what he felt the squad could have done better. After 5 weeks we seem to be getting the same message about quality in the final third of the pitch.
“We have to be better in the final third. I think we had like at least seven-eight crossing opportunities. [A] couple of entry paths in the box. It could have been better, we need to be better in the final third and to be better, I think both in the sense of the quality of the service and believing more in occupying the box. Most of the time the ball was on the side, we had only one guy in the box. We should have at least the second guy that is one of either the 10 or the second nine and the opposite wingback joining him because that’s the only way to give the strikers the possibility to find space and score.”
Vanni Sartini knows despite the struggles to start the season the Portland Timbers won’t be an easy opponent. He hopes that the team will be able to approach things in a similar fashion to last week and use the atmosphere of BC Place to their advantage.
“We play against one of our rivals for the Cascadia cap. So there’s a little extra motivation there. And also, if we win both of these two points, otherwise, we’re going to put Portland behind us at least for a week. We need to approach the game in the same way that we approached the game against Kansas City, and we are ready to do the same kind of performance. And that’s the only way that it’s gonna bring us I would say that the energy and the atmosphere in order to make another three points.”
What about maybe taking the Timbers a bit lightly this week since they have had their struggles to start the season? Vanni Sartini instaly put a no to that.
“Well, there’s no that risk that we’re going to take them right. They are the MLS Cup, final finalist of last year. They’re a team that they always make the playoff at the end of the season basically…There’s not a risk of taking them lightly. And there’s never this risk in MLS any game. It’s kind of a very hard game, so we’ll give 100% For sure.”
News, Injury Notes, And Potential Lineup For Whitecaps vs Timbers Preview
Tristan Blackmon took a very hard knock to the head with fellow Whitecap Ranko Veselinovic in extra time last week. He was down for several minutes and needed medical attention before being subbed off. Vanni Sartini was asked about his status going forward this week as Har Journalist reported he was still in concussion protocol.
“He’s doing well it’s doing well you know when [a] concussion happens we need to be overly cautious because you know, the health of the player of course comes first. There’s a very strict process that we need to go through step by step. And today, he was the step for him to train without contact. So we could have been doing some exercise with no position. Hopefully, he will pass the test tomorrow to start training with contact and I envision him to be available for the game on Saturday.”
I spoke with Erik Godoy last weekend at the match and he was hoping that he would be fit and ready to go for this weekend for the Whitecaps vs Timbers preview. Vanni Sartini was less optimistic about his return as he said it is more likely he wouldn’t be available until next week against CF Montreal.
“Erik is working towards recovery but it’s still we still not ready to be part of the team. He started doing something with us. So he worked yesterday and today as part of the training with the team. But they still haven’t he still hasn’t had a full training with the team and the recovery plan is to integrate him in training fully with the team next week. So for this week, he will still be out.”
At least we know Ryan Gauld will be available and we could possibly see those two up top along with Lucas Cavallini. Vanni Sartini hinted at the fact the plan was to have them all on the pitch at the same time and maybe even another attacking player at times.
“At the moment, you should expect three of them starting, I hope, I hope because that was the entire idea of the beginning, and try to play with only one defensive midfielder in step two. I hope that in the future, not now. But in the future. We’re going to be so solid that maybe we can even play with four of them starting so that’s that would be ideal.”
Sports Talk Line And The Vancouver Whitecaps
The Vancouver Whitecaps vs Timbers Preview will get you ready for the match Saturday night. Things will kick off just after 7:00 pm PST from BC Place and air on TSN. Vancouver will look to start a winning streak before they head back out on the road for 3 straight matches, starting with Saturday, April 16th against CF Montreal.
For even more Whitecaps coverage make sure to check out the latest episode of the 90 + podcast that will be out later this week. We will recap the 1-0 victory against Sporting KC and look ahead to the match Saturday night against the Portland Timbers.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @JoshuaGriffith0 for the latest news and notes throughout the week about your Vancouver Whitecaps. And of course check out the Sports Talk Line Website for even more about the Vancouver Whitecaps, Major League Soccer, MLB, The NFL Draft, and much more!