Match Recap: Rapids Book Playoff Spot As Timbers Tamed
Colorado Rapids 2-0 Portland Timbers DICK’S Sporting Goods Park | Saturday, October 23
A goal in each half, from Dominique Badji and Diego Rubio, cemented a spot in the MLS playoffs for the Colorado Rapids, as they triumphed over the Portland Timbers at home on Saturday night.
Badji’s goal came in stoppage time at the end of the first half, with the Senegalese striker rising highest to head home a Braian Galvan cross from the left. It was his second goal in as many games, in what was a second successive start.
Galvan was again the provider for the second of the night, his cross grazed the head of Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala and guided into the path of the incoming Rubio for his first goal since August 21.
Victory took the Rapids nine points clear of Portland, and back level on points with Sporting Kansas City, who earlier in the day had won at table-topping Seattle Sounders. Three points now separates the leading three teams in the Western Conference. (STANDINGS)
Seattle's failure to beat Sporting KC handed the Supporters' Shield to runaway Eastern Conference leaders New England Revolution. The Rapids head to the Revs next Wednesday (5pm kickoff, Altitude TV).
Head coach Robin Fraser said afterwards: “What I’m really proud of is this group of players is oftentimes disregarded. Small team, low budget, all these things.
“I’m really proud of how hard and how cohesively they’ve worked all year to get to this point. I’m really, really happy for them because we’re not here by luck. We’re here because they earned it. For that, I’m really, really excited.”
It was a rather uneventful first half. The Rapids had the ball in the back of the net but Mark-Anthony Kaye was clearly in an offside position. Portland, for their part, found space through the middle on a couple of occasions, with one resulting in a drive from Santiago Moreno that William Yarborough stretched to save.
Badji’s header gave the Rapids a spring in their step heading into the break, though Fraser was wanting his team to move the ball quicker in the second period, as he told Altitude Sports.
It was the Timbers, though, who began the second half the stronger. Veteran midfielder Diego Valeri forced another good save from Yarbrough after he was allowed space from a short corner.
Gradually the Rapids worked their way back into the contest, snapping into challenges and forcing midfield turnovers. There was a real sense of playoff intensity running through the Rapids for this one, and when Galvan’s cross deflected into the path of Rubio on 63 minutes, the outcome was all but sealed.
Rubio went close with another header, beating Steve Clark but being denied by the post, while Cole Bassett - who looked busy throughout - was denied by the Timbers keeper from 15 yards out.
Fraser added: “This is a really good team in Portland with a lot of very good players. Very well organized. It was hard to break them down. It took us a little while to get through, but I really applaud the effort and the stick-to-it-ness of the group.”
Rapids: William Yarbrough; Lalas Abubakar, Danny Wilson, Auston Trusty; Kellyn Acosta (Steven Beitashour 70’), Jack Price ©, Braian Galvan, Cole Bassett (Nicolas Mezquida 86’), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Andre Shinyashiki 87’); Diego Rubio (Jonathan Lewis 71’), Dominique Badji (Michael Barrios 64’). Subs not used: Clint Irwin, Drew Moor, Collen Warner, Lucas Esteves.
Timbers: Steve Clark; Bill Tuiloma, Larrys Mabiala (Josecarlos Van Rankin 76’), Dario Zuparic, Pablo Bonilla (Jaroslaw Niezgoda 89’); Renzo Zambrano (George Fochive 76’), Diego Chara; Yimmi Chara, Diego Valeri (Marvin Loria 76’), Santiago Moreno (Dairon Asprilla 62’); Felipe Mora. Subs not used: Aljaz Ivacic, Sebastian Blanco, Zachery McGraw, Blake Bodily.
Referee: Ted Unkel Assistant Referees: Chantal Boudreau, Jeff Hosking 4th Official: Matt Franz VAR: Kevin Terry Jr. AVAR: Ryan Graves