Colorado Rapids Supporter’s Shield Hopes Take Hit With 1-0 Loss In Portland

PORTLAND, OR (October 16, 2016) – The Portland Timbers playoff hopes are alive and well after a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids. The Rapids were playing their third game in eight days. Fanendo Adi scores a first half PK goal and Kevin Doyle hit the post twice in the second half.

Colorado Rapids Supporter’s Shield Hopes Take Hit With 1-0 Loss In Portland

The Colorado Rapids played a midweek game on Thursday, forcing manager Pablo Mastroeni to make some changes to the lineup. Caleb Calvert started up top. Kevin Doyle made a second straight start in the No. 10 role. Marco Pappa and Bobby Burling made their first starts of the month. Mekeil Williams did the same at left back. Axel Sjoberg and Dominique Badji were both available on the bench.

Head Coach Caleb Porter and the Portland Timbers were in a must win situation. As such, coach Porter pulled out all the stops for the match. The front four in a 4-2-3-1 consisted of Fanendo Adi, Diego Valeri, Darron Mattocks, and Darlington Nagbe. Avis Powell and Liem Ridgewell highlighted the defense for the defending champions.

First Half:

The Timbers took it to the Rapids for almost the entire first half. From the get go, Valeri and Nagbe were involved in build up after build up. The full backs Powell and Vytas Andriuskevicius overlapped early and often. This allowed the Timbers to send in cross after cross from the run of play and via corners.

Just 10 minutes in, the match got chippy after an exchange between Calvert and Ridgewell. The Rapids forward had a late shove on an aerial challange against the Timbers captain. The two would duel throughout the first half, with both getting a yellow card caution in the first half.

Portland would get their breakthrough with a penalty kick chance in the 33rd minute. A second ball was sent in off a Valeri free kick that pinged around in the box and eventually fell to Vytas. Bobby Burling went to ground to try and poke it away, but took the full back down. Referee Silviu Petrescu called the PK.

Adi stepped up to take it and scored, wrongfooting goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Just minutes later, Portland got on the run and Vytas got into the box with space. Michael Azira tried to challenge him with a slide tackle, but missed. Vytas got around Azira, forcing the midfielder to tug on his jersey. Vytas went down and a second PK was called.

This time however, Howard made the save on Adi, and the rebound shot was sent wide. The half ended 1-0 with Portland outshooting the visitors 13-3.

Second Half:

Colorado came out much more active in the second half. With the two teams trading rushes, Doyle nearly equilized. In the 51st minute, he got his head to a Marco Pappa chip that went off the bar. In the 65th minute, substitute Lucas Melano foced Howard into an excellent save on a counter attach.

The Rapids began to press as the match went on. Dominique Badji came in for Calvert 67th minute and immediately had an impact. Badji brough pace and speed, making runs in and around the box. This gave Colorado more scoring chances but they still had trouble getting shots on target.

Diego Chara was given a yellow card for a tactical foul in the second half. With that, both Ridgewell and Chara will be unavailable for the Timbers final match of the season next weekend.

In the 86th minute, Colorado had a nice but apparently harmless build up through Shkelzen Gashi to Doyle. Doyle turned and shot and the ball bounced off the post.

Despite five minutes of stoppage time, the Rapids could not muster a goal with most of their shots being blocked. The match ended 1-0.

Closing Thoughts:

This was a huge gut check win for the Portland Timbers. Still, they’ll be short handed for Decision Day, and that hurts. They don’t appear to have the same magic they did last October. Being winless on the road in 2016 doesn’t bode well should they make the playoffs as a road wildcard team.

FC Dallas won their match and pulled ahead of the Rapids in the race for the Supporter’s Shield. That hurts the Rapids big time. They’ll need a win next weekend and Dallas must lose on the road to LA Galaxy. That said, this wasn’t the first choice Starting XI. They must be exhausting playing three games in eight days.

They are still a dominant team at home on the front foot. They won’t be playing short handed on turf on short rest much this post season.