COMMERCE CITY, CO (October 1, 2016) – The Colorado Rapids got a much needed win on Saturday night. Sebastian Le Toux opened his Rapids account to defeat the Portland Timbers 1-0. With this the Rapids are now second in the conference table. They will look to build on this heading into the playoffs.
Rapids Beat Timbers 1-0: Sebastian Le Toux Goal Clinches Playoff Spot
Rapids Manager Pablo Mastroeni started his typical 4-2-3-1. Jared Watts started at center back for Bobby Burling. Dominique Badji made another start at center forward for the injured Kevin Doyle. Shkelzen Gashi started in the No. 10 role with Sebastian Le Toux on his wing. Dillon Powers started at holding mid for the suspended Michael Azira.
Portland Manager Caleb Porter started Fenendo Adi and Diego Valeri up top. Jack Jewsbury started next to Diego Chara in midfield. Steven Taylor started at center back next to Liam Ridgewell.
The First half got off to a slow start, as both teams got used to each other. Portland got out on the front foot early, using their wing play to get into the box. The visitors earned several corners early in the match, but Jewsbury wasn’t able to connect with his teammates. Colorado counter punched with several chances later in the half.
There were shouts for a penalty in the 18th minute. Gashi took a corner that found Watts in the box. Watts took a touch to control then appeared to be run from behind by a Timbers defender. No foul was called.
Colorado had a series of chances that culminated in a shot by Badji from outside the box in the 30th minute. The shot was deflected and goalkeeper Jake Gleeson made the easy save.
Portland’s best chances came just minutes later. Darlington Nagbe won the ball from Axel Sjoberg just outside the box. Valeri pounced on it and forced goalkeeper Tim Howard to deflect it over the bar. Off the corner, Watts cleared a ball out from right in front of goal with Adi close by.
Perhaps the best chance of the half came in the 41st minute when Marc Burch sent a cross into the box. Le Toux rose up and headed it just over the bar.
The half ended scoreless with Chara and Badji on yellow cards.
The Timbers again started the half with good energy. They sat back a bit, but used the counter with Adi playing hold up to give Valeri and Nagbe several chances on the ball.
The game got into a bit of a lull, then Colorado scored out of nowhere in the 63rd minute. Marlon Hairston got the ball just inside the box after a nice build up. He passed towards Badji right in front of goal. Badji missed the pass and it fell straight to Le Toux. The Frenchman slotted the ball perfectly in the bottom corner past Gleeson to take a 1-0 lead.
The match opened up after that with Portland going forward for an equalizer. Colorado’s defense stymied them. Badji nearly doubled the advantage in the 74th minute off a counter attack. Gleeson did well deflecting it wide.
Portland continued to press, but could not muster any quality chances. Colorado continued to look for the counter, but focused on keeping the lead. Substitute Caleb Calvert had an excellent chance late on in the 89th minute.
The Rapids have been struggling of late and their stars still aren’t healthy. They badly needed this win for their psyche. With the win, they have clinched a playoff spot. This was something they can build on, even if the performance wasn’t great. They need to keep getting healthy. If one or more offensive players can get hot, this is a team no Western Conference team will want to play come playoffs. Especially on the road.