The Portland Timbers came to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park riding a high following their first road win of the year on Tuesday, but after the match was over the Timbers were back to their usual road form: bad. After a scoreless first half that saw the Timbers with the bulk of the chances, the Rapids picked up a second half goal before seeing the game out for the 1-0 win.
The early going saw both teams trying to come into the match and impose themselves upon it. For the Timbers, that meant playing a strong possession game in the center of the pitch before bursting forward through Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri. For the Rapids, that meant imposing themselves physically through fouls and hard-nosed defensive play, keeping the game choppy and disjointed in the early going as referee Alan Chapman mysteriously kept his cards in his pocket.
As the game began to settle, however, the majority of the chances seemed to be going the Timbers’ way. The best of the bunch came in the 36th minute when full back Alvas Powell cut inside from the right flank before playing a simple pass to the feet of Valeri, who had drifted off the shoulder of his man and was free in the Rapids’ box. Valeri turned quickly on the ball and hit a rolling shot at the far post that Rapids’ keeper Tim Howard dove for but could not get a glove to; instead the ball zipped along the grass and crashed into the far post, bouncing out and away from goal. It looked like the Timbers would get a second chance at the ball, but a last second slide from a Rapids defender cleared the ball away, ending the chance.
The 0-0 scoreline would not last and, of course, it was the road team who would concede. In the 63rd minute, Rapids winger Marlon Hairston burned down the Timbers’ left and, touching the ball between Diego Chara and a thoroughly bamboozled Vytas, cut into the box. From near the end line, Hairston cut a ball back toward the top of the box where Dominique Badji and Sebastian LeToux were waiting. Badji got a slight touch on the ball, but it was LeToux who would connect with a shot, hitting a low, first-time attempt on goal that snuck just inside the near post to open the scoring.
From there on it was all about the Rapids continuing their absurd home defensive record, fouling often, and shutting down the game. Although the Timbers would push often into the attacking half, they failed to find the break through and found themselves giving up the ball while trying to make something happen.
The loss leaves the Timbers in 7th place in the Western Conference, currently out of playoff contention.