Vancouver, BC (SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will open Cascadia Cup play for the 2015 season when the two sides meet at BC Place on Saturday.
Vancouver claimed the regional title last season by taking 10 points from its total of six games against the Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC, helping the club sneak into the postseason last term.
The 'Caps have built upon that success to make a promising start to the new campaign, thanks in large part to the play of Octavio Rivero.
The Vancouver newcomer has notched three goals in as many games to lift his side to six points. After opening his MLS scoring account in a 3-1 home loss to Toronto FC, Rivero produced the lone strike in Vancouver's 1-0 win at the Chicago Fire, as well as bagging a last-gasp winner at the Citrus Bowl to see the 'Caps claim a dramatic 1-0 victory over Orlando City SC last time out.
"I thought we played very well at times in the first half and we probably should have been ahead," 'Caps head coach Carl Robinson told Vancouver's TSN 1410 radio after the game. "In the second half we knew they'd put us under pressure and I asked them just to show a little bit of character. If you show character you usually get your rewards and today we did.
"Was it smash and grab? I'll have to look at it again. They had a couple of chances in the second half and David (Ousted) made a fantastic save. Every manager will want to win comfortably and 3 or 4-nil, but in this league that doesn't happen."
Vancouver will be seeking its first home win on Saturday, but Portland will be out to claim its first win of the season - home or away.
The Timbers, who tied 13 matches in 2014, have drawn their first three games of the new season.
After a scoreless home draw against Real Salt Lake to open the season, Portland threw away two points by conceding a late goal to the Los Angeles Galaxy on the stroke of full time as the two sides finished level at two goals apiece.
The Timbers then hit the road for the first time this year and were held to a 0-0 draw at Sporting Kansas City, but head coach Caleb Porter was pleased with both the result and the performance.
"I thought it was a good performance," said Porter. "Sporting Kansas City's a good team. It's one of the toughest places to come and get a result. I thought it was a very good game, about 50-50 in possession, so we kept the ball better this game, which allowed us to control periods.
"To put yourself in a position to get three points on the road you have to keep the game tight, especially against a good team, and hope to finish your couple chances, which we didn't. But if you can't finish your couple chances to win the game, getting a point on the road here is a positive. We're unbeaten in three games against three very good teams."