The Portland Timbers have been one of MLS’s top teams when they play at Providence Park this season, but they will not be able to rest on their laurels in this afternoon’s must-win match against the Colorado Rapids. Today’s opponents, meanwhile, will be coming into this match looking for all three points as they look to hold off FC Dallas and stay in pole position in the race for the Supporters’ Shield.
With only two games left in the season, this match is the Timbers’ best chance to secure three points and potentially move back above the red line. Of course, the team will need some help to get back into playoff contention and no match will be more central to that goal than Sporting Kansas City at Real Salt Lake, two sides that have yet to secure their spots in the post season.
To secure those three points, the Timbers will need to start with a strong defensive effort, minimizing the mistakes that have haunted the team this season. The Rapids are an opportunistic side and one that his more than capable of locking a game down if they go in front.
Of course, like every team in MLS, the Rapids are somewhat less fearsome on the road, having given up 24 of their 30 goals allowed away from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. This is even more heartening in concert with the Timbers’ league leading attack at home where they have scored 34 goals.
To that end, the Timbers will need their attacking threats to step up and make an impact against the Rapids. Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi will once again be central to the Timbers’ hopes, but players like Darren Mattocks and Lucas Melano (maybe even a well timed move from Jack Jewsbury?) will need to make their marks as well if the Timbers are going to come away with a win today.
Watch it on: ESPN
Kickoff: 2:00 p.m. PT at Providence Park in Portland, OR
Portland Timbers: 11-13-8, 7th place in the Western Conference
Colorado Rapids: 15-5-12, 1st place in the Western Conference