In The Hunt: Portland Timbers Beat Rapids 2-1 To Keep Pace In West

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PORTLAND, OR - FEBRUARY 12: Portland's head coach Caleb Porter moments before the Portland Preseason Tournament 2-2 tie, between Minnesota United v Portland Timbers on February 12, 2017, at Providence Park in Portland, OR. (Photo by Diego G Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

PORTLAND, OR (August 23, 2017) – The Portland Timbers got a big home win against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night. With every Western Conference playoff team in action for some mid-week MLS, the Timbers kept up with a 2-1 win. Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe led the way.

Portland Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Jeff Attinella — Zarek Valentin, Lawrence Olum, Roy Miller, Vytautas Andriuskevicius — David Guzmán, Diego Chara — Sebastián Blanco, Diego Valeri (C), Darlington Nagbe — Darren Mattocks

Colorado Starting XI (4-3-3): Tim Howard (C) — Mike da Fonte, Kortne Ford, Eric Miller, Mekeil Williams — Luis Gil, Michael Azira, Mohammed Saeid — Dillon Serna, Kevin Doyle, Joshua Gatt

In The Hunt: Portland Timbers Beat Rapids 2-1 To Keep Pace In West

Portland came out flying against a battered opponent at home. They possessed the ball well and went at goal with numbers early and often. Colorado handled the rotations as well as they could, but the Timbers still created a number of shooting chances.

The home side drew first blood 21 minutes in. After some good passing in and around the box, Vytas delivered a cross into the middle. The Rapids backline was making their first start with this combination of players in their positions. Poor communication left Captain Valeri open who headed it into the back of the net.

Just two minutes in Darlington Nagbe doubled the advantage with an absolute golazo. Vytas found Nagbe just inside the box, who turned on a dime and chipped Howard to hit the top corner. There wasn’t anything anyone could have done about it. It was a deft shot from the American international.

Colorado pulled one back in the 28th minute. Olum was a little sloppy on a pass in the defensive third. Mohammed Saeid picked it off, dribbled into the box, and picked the corner to beat Attinela. It was Saeid’s first goal in MLS and his first as a member of the Rapids.

Video Assisted Replay overturned a call later in the half, awarding the Timbers a PK. Guzmán stepped up to take it but missed. The foul by Da Font was unnecessary and a stone cold PK as he pulled Valeri down, tugging on his shirt.

The half ended 2-1 and that’s how the match ended. Portland continued to dominate the possession and outshot their opponents 17-12. Colorado kept trying to play on the counter attack. They lacked urgency at times and could not find a goal to tie the match.

Scoring Summary:

21′ Portland – Diego Valeri, assisted by Vytas and Darren Mattocks
23′ Portland – Darlington Nagbe, assisted by Vytas and Sebastián Blanco
28′ Colorado – Mohammed Saied, unassisted

Last Word:

The scoreline might not have been the most convincing, but the Timbers got an important home win. They kept pace in the Western Conference and their stars showed up. The offensive stars showed up. This team is starting to turn the corner after a rough patch last month.

Rapids gonna Rapids? The 4-3-3 had some good moments, but this team still struggles to create high quality changes, let alone score goals. The new coach bump post-Mastroeni hasn’t seemed to kick in. They are 13 points out of a playoff spot with 10 games to go.

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