The Portland Timbers conceded two penalty kicks in two minutes to hand a 2-0 victory to the Colorado Rapids in Commerce City, CO today. After a slow start to the game, the Timbers looked like they could be good for a win until the 73', which saw Donovan Ricketts red-carded for colliding with Deshorn Brown in the box, giving up the first penalty kick of the night.
The match started with the Rapids breaking down the pitch early and often, getting off their second and most dangerous attempt of the first half on goal in the 6' as Deshorn Brown raced past Jack Jewsbury and fired a hard shot on goal. Donovan Ricketts was on hand to parry the shot away, but with the ball swerving in the air, he could not grab it, instead spilling a rebound in the box. Timbers fans across the country felt their hearts skip a beat, but there were no Rapids on hand to put the bouncing ball home and Ricketts was able to recover.
The early pressure from the Rapids continued for the first ten minutes of the game until a switch seemed to flipfor the Timbers. The turning point was a move in the 19' as the Timbers broke quickly down the left side of the pitch. Steve Zakuani played in a pass to in Darlington Nagbe at the top of the box, who quickly dropped the ball back for Zakuani as he cut inside. Zakuani, after a touch into space, ripped a low shot with his right foot that forced a save from John Berner.
From there the Timbers controlled much of the possession for the rest of the half, with the exception of the final five minutes when the Rapids managed to gather themselves after weathering 25' of pressure.
The second half started off on a much more even footing, with both teams giving each other a healthy amount of respect.
Neither team seemed able to break the deadlock until things suddenly fell apart for the Timbers in the 73'. A bouncing through ball saw Brown streak past Jewsbury and Kah and into the Timbers box. One on one, Ricketts rushed out to block the ball away but got Brown rather than the ball. Referee Mark Geiger quickly pointed to the spot, red carding Ricketts who had to be carried off the pitch on a stretcher after the collision. Andrew Weber stepped in to goal for Ricketts, making his first appearance for the Timbers since joining the team in the offseason, but he could not stop Vicente Sanchez's penalty as the Uruguayan striker put the ball away to open the scoring.
Only two minutes later disaster struck again for the Timbers. This time it was Sanchez running into the Timbers box and Weber making contact to take him down as Sanchez took a touch away from goal. Geiger again pointed to the spot for Colorado, only issuing a yellow card to Weber. For the second penalty of the night it was Brown who stepped up to take the shot, but his low attempt was blocked by Weber. Before a Timbers player could arrive to clear the rebound, however, Brown pounced on the free ball with, knocking the ball home as Weber looked on helplessly to make the score 2-0.
The number of men on the pitch for each team would be eventually evened out thanks to two yellow cards to Rapids midfielder Jose Mari in the 90', but the Timbers could not pull a goal back despite 7' of stoppage time.