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Storylines: Portland Timbers vs Colorado Rapids

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The boys in green and gold look to make it two in a row against cellar dwellers Colorado

MLS: Portland Timbers at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Story So Far

Wasn’t that fun?! The Timbers headed into the night looking to pick up their first win at home against the Red Bulls of New York. They did just that taking on a team that was a mix of regular and backups who came into the match on tired legs. The Timbers, while not great on the night, scored two and grabbed all three points.

The home stand continues as the Colorado Rapids stumble into Providence Park sharing the bottom of the Western Conference with Minnesota United. Can the Timbers make it two in a row before heading to Seattle? Or will they be treated to a repeat of the last time these two teams met; a 2-1 loss to the Rapids.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Pablo Mastroeni out, Steve Cooke in.

Mastroeni compiled a 39-35-54 record while at the club. The Rapids missed the playoffs all but one year under Mastroeni, that being 2016 when they managed to make it to the Western Conference finals.

The team is at the bottom of almost every statistical measure, and we all know how Mastroeni feels about the use of stats in soccer, not that it matters now.

Steve Cooke has a long resume, was recently an assistant coach with the club and is now the interim manager. Conor Casey and Chris Sharpe were retained and will keep their assistant coach positions.

Oceans XI

Under Mastroeni the Rapids were more of a defensive-minded team running out a 4-2-3-1, a total of 18 times this season. Steve Cooke’s first match in charge? He rolled out a 4-3-3, though it didn’t quite work out as the Rapids lost at home against a hapless D.C. United. Though, the only reason DCU won was due to a legendary backpass/own goal. That’s how bad the Rapids season going and it doesn’t look at getting better.

The road has not been kind to the Rapids in 2017. They have yet to notch an away win with a 0-8-2 record. On top of that, they’ve averaged just .3 goals per game. Yes, 3 goals in 10 matches. That is amazingly weak and looks good for the Timbers.

Stratego

What will the Rapids look like going forward? Cooke is only the interim coach, though I bet he has a head start on making that permanent if he can salvage what little of the season that’s left.

He’s instituted a more attacking formation with the 4-3-3, and it looks like the long balls are being kept to the minimum. They will come out and bomb the box with crosses, though their finishing is terrible so usually nothing comes from it. Also, look for scoring opportunities on set-pieces as the Rapids have given up their fair share of set-piece goals.

Green And Gold

The Timbers are rolling on short rest, and with Seattle on the horizon I’d expect to see some rotation going into Wednesday’s match. If you want a fully rested team for the derby next weekend you rest some players. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Adi rested one more match and have Ebobisse start against the Rapids. But hey, I’m not the guy holding the clipboard.

After flirting with the red line, the Timbers currently sit tied for third in the Western Conference. While we can breathe a very brief sigh of relief, it’s not over yet. We’re under double digits in matches remaining and I really look at them as must-wins. The hotter the streak we have going into the playoffs the better. This is the perfect time for this team to catch fire.