Portland, Vancouver renew rivalry at Jeld-Wen Field

The Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC renew their rivalry, which dates back to 1975 and the old North American Soccer League, in the Cascadia Cup on Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field.

Portland will get its first taste of the Cascadia Cup this year, an event that is contested by the Timbers, Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders FC.

The Timbers (3-5-3) are off the foot of the Western Conference in Major League Soccer thanks to the early-season struggles of the defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy.

Portland's poor road form, it is winless away from home in five games, has led to its tough start, but coach John Spencer's club will have the comfort of its incredible home-field advantage this weekend.

The Timbers are 3-2-1 at home, and ended a three-match winless skid with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire last weekend.

Portland then played Spanish side Valencia in a friendly Wednesday and despite a 1-0 loss, gained valuable experience that should help in league play.

"It's a tremendous learning experience for myself and the staff, and also the players. Everybody always thinks, from afar, that you can go coach in Europe; you can go and play in Europe," Spencer said on the club's website.

"It's a different level completely."

Vancouver (5-3-3) was at another level early this season as it won five of its first nine matches, and posted shutouts in six of its first nine games to move close to the West summit.

Now, the Whitecaps (5-3-3) are fourth in the West, nine points off the top and seven points ahead of the Galaxy.

Vancouver opened its Cascadia Cup schedule with a 2-2 tie against Seattle last week, but lost the Canadian Championship on aggregate to Toronto FC - which is winless in MLS this season - after a 1-0 loss Wednesday.

Martin Rennie's side will have to just forget about the defeat and move on, or it risks a second loss in its last three league matches.

"It's pretty deflating, to be honest," Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon told TEAM 1410 radio during a post-match interview after the TFC defeat. "We're all going to take a day or two to let it sink in. But at the same time, the season moves on."