The Vancouver Whitecaps are one win away from making MLS history.
The Portland Timbers, meanwhile, hope to avoid adding their name to a dubious historical league list.
Looking to become the first Canadian team to clinch an MLS playoff berth, the Whitecaps on Sunday again try for their first-ever win over a Timbers squad in danger of going the entire season without a road victory.
After Vancouver went 6-18-10 during its inaugural 2011 MLS season, the Whitecaps (11-12-9) need a victory Sunday or at Real Salt Lake next Saturday to become Canada's first MLS postseason participant. Vancouver, which holds a four-point lead over FC Dallas for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, also can clinch that postseason berth with a draw Sunday should Dallas draw or lose to Seattle the same day. A Dallas defeat Sunday also would send Vancouver to the postseason.
"We know what we've got to do, and that's win one of the next two games, and the sooner we do that, the better," defender Andy O'Brien told the Whitecaps' official website. "The magnitude of this game, obviously what's at stake - it adds an extra bit of spice to it."
It would seem the Whitecaps are in good position to achieve their goal Sunday against Cascadia rival Portland (7-16-9), which has been outscored 35-9 while going 0-12-4 away from home. The Timbers hope to avoid becoming the fifth team in MLS history to go winless on the road, and the last since Vancouver went 0-12-5 away from home last year.
"I think when you're on the road especially, you have to minimize the mistakes you make defensively and when you get chances on the offensive side, make the most of them.," midfielder Jack Jewsbury told the Timbers' official website.
While Portland is 0-12-6 on the road since a 1-0 win at Vancouver on Oct. 2, 2011, it's 3-0-1 against the Whitecaps since the clubs both entered the league last season. The sides drew 1-all at Portland on May 26, then Darlington Nagbe and Franck Songo'o scored in the Timbers' 2-1 home victory Aug. 25.
Portland, however, lost 3-0 at Seattle on Oct. 7 to fall to 0-3-3 since closing August with consecutive wins over Vancouver and Colorado.
Vancouver managed three goals during a 0-5-2 slide that ended with a 4-0 win over Chivas USA on Oct. 3. Camilo had a goal with two assists while Dane Richards added one of each in the contest.
Though the Whitecaps might have more at stake on a larger scale, a victory Sunday for the Timbers would give them the fan-based Cascadia Cup. The trophy is awarded to the club that has the best head-to-head regular season record among Portland, Seattle and Vancouver.
"It's very, very important the way our season has gone," interim Timbers coach Gavin Wilkinson said. "Our fans deserve a lot, lot more to be honest."
- Portland Timbers