Timbers' playoff bid brightens with 1-0 win at Vancouver


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Things couldn't have gone much better for the Portland Timbers on Sunday.

The Timbers' MLS playoff hopes improved significantly, as they beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 and saw D.C. United fall behind them in the wild-card race with a 2-1 loss at Columbus.

Kenny Cooper's goal in the 25th minute was all the Timbers needed to beat the team with the worst record in the league. It was the third goal in the past four games for the fifth-year forward, who some had said was likely to be traded earlier in the season. Diego Chara's pass set up the score.

Troy Perkins picked up his ninth shutout, making two saves as Portland climbed to 11-13-7 overall and 2-9-4 on the road.

It was the Timbers' first win away since July 16 at Chicago.

An announced sellout crowd of 21,000 attended the first Whitecaps game at remodeled BC Place.

The Timbers are tied with New York for the fourth and final wild-card spot at 40 points with three games remaining in the regular season. The Red Bulls also have three game remaining and own the tiebreaker over the Timbers.

D.C. United has 38 points, with four games to play. Next in the point totals is Chicago with 37 and three games to go.

The top three teams in the wild-card chase are FC Dallas (46 points, three games remaining), Colorado (45 points, two games left) and Houston (43 points, two games to go).

Portland's final home game of the regular season will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14. Then the Timbers close the campaign at D.C. United on Oct. 19 and at Real Salt Lake on Oct. 22.