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Whitecaps FC-Timbers Preview
By KATE HEDLIN
(AP) -- Following a disappointing loss in the Canadian Championship final, the Vancouver Whitecaps will try to bounce back quickly for yet another rivalry game.
The Whitecaps visit the Portland Timbers on Saturday night as part of the Cascadia Cup.
With a chance to represent Canada in CONCACAF Champions League play, Vancouver (5-3-3) suffered a 1-0 loss to Toronto on Wednesday, giving up a goal in the 83rd minute to lose the aggregate-goals series following a 1-1 draw in the first match.
"Obviously we're disappointed with how the game went," coach Martin Rennie said. "If you get a chance here or there you have to take them, and we didn't do that. ... We have to dust ourselves off and start looking forward to making a run at the (MLS Cup) playoffs, starting on Saturday against Portland."
Vancouver doesn't have long to lament the missed opportunities. Saturday's match is one of five remaining for the Whitecaps in the Cascadia Cup - the competition among Vancouver, Portland and Seattle for bragging rights in the Pacific Northwest.
The Whitecaps and Sounders played to a 2-2 draw last Saturday in the first Cascadia matchup this season. Vancouver seemed in line to pick up three points after Camilo Sanvezzo scored in the 82nd minute - his second goal in his last three games - but Seattle equalized in the 90th.
"We had a couple chances to finish off the game and we didn't do that," captain and defender Jay DeMerit said. "But those are great learning experiences. It's good to have that in the beginning of the season, and we still play all these derbies a lot more times, so we'll look forward to the next one."
The draw came a week after the Whitecaps had a three-game winning streak snapped by a 4-1 loss at New England in which they gave up four unanswered goals after scoring in the fifth minute.
While Vancouver hopes to avoid fatigue and improve on its recent poor finishes, Portland is trying to build off a 2-1 victory over Chicago last Sunday.
The Timbers (3-5-3) had been shut out in their previous three games - two of them scoreless draws - but they recorded their third multigoal game of 2012 and first since a 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake on March 31.
Eric Brunner scored in the 20th minute, and a Fire own goal in the 52nd put Portland ahead for good.
"It's a huge win," goalkeeper Troy Perkins said. "It puts us real close to being in the middle of the pack. A couple of more results go our way and we're right in there."
Portland is one point ahead of last-place Los Angeles in the Western Conference, but could potentially leapfrog two teams with another win Saturday.
The Timbers' 11 goals are the second-fewest in the conference, but nine of them have come at home, where they are 3-2-1 and haven't lost in their past three MLS matches (2-0-1).
Portland had its own mid-week game, falling 1-0 to Valencia on Wednesday in an exhibition.
"It's a tremendous learning experience, for myself, the staff and of course the players," coach John Spencer said about facing the Spanish club.
Portland won both games against Vancouver last season, including a 2-1 victory at home.
Updated May 25, 2012