It wasn’t pretty, but the Portland Timbers got all three points from this afternoon’s must-win match against the Colorado Rapids, grinding out a 1-0 win against the former Supporters Shield leaders.
Much like the last time the two teams met, the match started out chippy and got worse as the game went on, with the Rapids out fouling the Timbers 14-6 in the first half. Still, the Timbers were able to put the pressure on the Rapids, holding the bulk of the possession as the visitors looked to hit them on the break.
With the Timbers keeping the pressure on and the Rapids playing an increasingly physical game, it came as no real surprise when a flailing Bobby Burling took down Vytas in the box while contesting a corner kick, giving up a penalty to the Timbers in the 35th minute. Fanendo Adi stepped up to the spot and stroked a low, simple shot to his right as Rapids keeper Tim Howard dove the opposite direction, putting the Timbers up 1-0.
The Timbers were back at the spot minutes later and again it was Vytas that got them there. After working the ball down the left flank in the 39th minute, Darren Mattocks was able to play a quick pass to Vytas in the box. The Timbers’ left back hit a low cross that was blocked back into his path, putting him one on one with Howard, only to be pulled down by the back of his jersey by a Rapids defender. Adi once again stepped up to the spot for the Timbers, but this time he hit a low shot to his left, squarely into the diving form of Tim Howard, who spilled the rebound back into Adi’s path. With only the goal in front of him, Adi opened his hips and tried to tuck the ball inside the far post, only to see it roll out for a goal kick.
As the second half opened, however, it was the Rapids getting forward and putting the Timbers under pressure with long periods of possession.
The Rapids came close to evening things up in the 86th minute off a well taken half chance from Sam Cronin. The Rapids’ midfielder got on the ball in the Timbers box facing away from goal and turned to take a quick shot, getting off a rolling effort that pinged off the post and away from traffic, preserving the clean sheet.
The Timbers play at home on Wednesday against CD Saprissa as they close out the CONCACAF Champions League group stage.