Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Portland Timbers – MLS, April 18, 2021
Fans of soccer in the Pacific Northwest don’t have to wait long for their first taste of Cascadia Cup action this year. On Sunday, April 19, Vancouver and Portland go head-to-head, with both clubs opening their account for the 2021 MLS season.
The Timbers will be in good spirits, having qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League’s quarter-finals earlier in the week, while the Whitecaps head into Sunday’s showdown on the back of two straight pre-season wins.
After checking out the MLS odds, I will share my Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Portland Timbers prediction and betting pick.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Portland Timbers Odds
Due to the pandemic, the Caps are playing their “home” matches at Real Salt Lake’s Rio Tinto Stadium for the foreseeable future.
The Canadians are normally the bookmakers’ outsiders for this match, but a lack of genuine home-field advantage means the price for the Vancouver win is even higher than usual this time around.
As expected, Portland is the favorite with all the top online sports betting sites to win this one.
Vancouver vs. Portland Match Preview
Having seen off USL Championship side Real Monarchs 3-0 last week, Marc Dos Santos’ men capped off their preparations for the 2021 MLS season by beating Chicago Fire 3-2.
Lucas Cavallini bagged a brace against Chicago, filling Vancouver supporters will optimism for the campaign ahead. If the Caps improve on last term’s ninth-place finish in the Western Conference, Cavallini will need to score goals regularly.
The Canada international netted six goals in 18 appearances during his debut season at the club, although Vancouver only managed to score 27 goals in 23 matches altogether. In fact, only RSL scored fewer goals than Dos Santos’s side in the West last year.
It is also worth noting that Vancouver ended the previous campaign with the third-worst defensive record in the division. Needless to say, improvements need to be made at both ends of the pitch.
Unfortunately for the Caps, their recent record against Portland isn’t pretty.
|Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers – Recent H2H Record|
|Year||Home Team||Away Team||Score|
|2020||Portland Timbers||Vancouver Whitecaps||1-0|
|2020||Vancouver Whitecaps||Portland Timbers||0-1|
|2020||Portland Timbers||Vancouver Whitecaps||2-1|
|2019||Portland Timbers||Vancouver Whitecaps||3-1|
As you can see, the Timbers have won each of their last four meetings with Vancouver – scoring seven goals along the way. To make matters worse for the Caps, they have failed to score in the previous two encounters.
Given that Portland finished level with Sporting KC and Seattle on 39 points at the Western Conference summit last season, this fixture’s recent results are hardly surprising.
Giovanni Savarese’s men averaged exactly two goals per game during the 2020 regular season, netting 46 times in 23 outings. If their recent CONCACAF Champions League games are anything to go by, they are set for another high-scoring year.
After drawing 2-2 with CD Marathon, the Timbers crushed the Honduran side 5-0 in the second leg. Yimmi Chara bagged an impressive hat-trick, while Diego Valeri chipped in with a goal and an assist.
Portland is well placed to seal a fifth straight win over Vancouver on Sunday.
Whitecaps vs. Timbers Betting Pick
Portland Timbers to Win1.66
The manner with which Portland thrashed Marathon earlier in the week was hugely impressive. Sure, the Caps are likely to give the Timbers a tougher game. But I can’t see the Oregon outfit slipping up on Sunday.
Having played a couple of competitive matches in the lead-up to the 2021 MLS season, Savarese’s men are ready for the challenge. On the flip side, Vancouver hasn’t played a meaningful game since November, so it will be difficult for them to compete.