The match started off with a bang as, in the 5th minute of play the Timbers found themselves with a free kick dead-center of the pitch, just outside the Rapids' box. With no Diego Valeri, Will Johnson, or Jack Jewsbury on the pitch it was Darlington Nagbe stepping up to take the free kick. With a short run up, Nagbe hit a swerving ball that skimmed just over the top of the wall, sending Zac MacMath stumbling the wrong way as he tried to get a jump on the shot and rippling the back of the net at speed to put the Timbers' up 1-0.
The lead was short lived, however, as the Rapids grabbed hold of the match's momentum with a goal in the 12th minute. Colorado worked the ball around the Timbers' box until a deflected ball fell to the feet of Dominic Badji at the top of the key. The speedy winger hit a quick shot that had Adam Kwarasey diving across the face of his goal, only to see the ball deflect off the leg of Liam Ridgewell and over the Timbers' keeper. The goal tied things up for the Rapids and kicked off a long period of Portland problems as the team struggled to keep the ball and impose themselves on the visitors.
Those problems would evaporate in the 33rd minute as the Timbers made a rare foray into the Rapids' defensive third. After receiving the ball from Fanendo Adi and bursting down the right win, Lucas Melano looked to play a quick cross back into the Rapids box, not to Adi at the near post, but to the center channel run of Darlington Nagbe. Whipping his body around, Nagbe powered a headed ball over the dive of MacMath and just inside the far post to regain the Timbers lead.
The Timbers extended their lead in the 63rd minute when Nagbe went on a weaving run through the Colorado defense that defies description, playing the ball off Rodney Wallace and Melano before slicing a pass out wide for Jorge Villafana cutting into the box. Villafana cracked the ball first-time and, taking a deflection off an errant defender, it slammed into the back of the net to give the Timbers the two goal lead.
With the match winding down and the Timbers now firmly in control of the proceedings, there was sill one final goal to come. Running down the right flank, Dairon Asprilla hit a hard cross into the Rapid's box, that found Adi running onto the ball. Sticking out a foot, Adi made contact sending the ball bouncing and spinning across the goal line. Although a Colorado defender cleared the ball out just as it crossed the line -- George Fochive was there to put it away on the follow up -- the goal was credited to Adi, his fourth in two games.
With the win, the Timbers will play on
either Wednesday or Thursday at 7:00 p.m. PT and will host Sporting Kansas City in the play-in round.Tickets for the playoff matches will go on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. PT.