The Portland Timbers started off strong in today’s away match against the Colorado Rapids, but fell apart in the second half to give the home side a 2-1 come-from-behind victory.
Expecting a strong defensive performance from the Rapids, the Timbers found themselves on the back foot in the first minutes of the match. Facing an ambitious Rapids attack, the Timbers suffered through some shaky moments, but quickly shook off the rust from a week’s rest and asserted themselves on the match, holding the bulk of the possession.
The Timbers broke through in the 18th minute, taking advantage of an opening in the Rapid’s formation as they broke down the pitch. Diego Valeri notched his sixth assist of the 2017 as he picked out Sebastian Blanco in space wide on the left. Blanco drove forward, carrying the ball into the Rapids box and cutting around midfielder Michael Azira before hitting a curling shot past the flat-footed Tim Howard to give the Timbers’ the opening goal of the match.
The possession would continue to favor the Timbers into the second half, but the Rapids would find the equalizer none the less in the 51st minute. A slide-rule pass through the Timbers defense from forward Kevin Doyle found the run of speedster Dominic Badji. With Badji running into the box, Jake Gleeson rushed out to shut him down only for the Rapids forward to play a simple, chipped ball that arched over Gleeson and into the goal.
Now back in the match, the Rapids began looking for a lead of their own and almost found it in the 58th minute. A cross in from the Timbers’ right flank found the head Doyle just five yards from goal, but Gleeson was able to come up with a stunning reaction save and keep the two sides even.
It was another flicked on header late in the match that would be the Timbers undoing as former USL Timber Alan Gordon made the difference in the 89th minute. After coming into the match as an 80th minute substitute, Gordon made a strong run into the Timbers box and rose up to connect with a cross from Mohammed Saeid, sending a flicked on header over the outstretched fingertips of Gleeson and inside the far post for the go-ahead goal.
With only stoppage time left in the match, the Timbers threw themselves forward, but were unable to find the equalizer before the final whistle blew.
The Timbers are back in action on Wednesday as they head to the Land of 10,000 Lakes to take on Minnesota United and look to wrap up their two-game road trip with a point or three.