With a bit of luck the Timbers could enter the weekend tied for points at the top of the table. However, that doesn’t mean as much when you see that the Timbers have played at least one more game than almost everyone else in the league (and in some cases 3 more games than others). But this midweek match versus Colorado is the final non-weekend game.
There will be a short turnaround as they travel to Seattle on Sunday, but once these two games pass the Timbers will have an easy end to the season as far as their schedule is concerned. 6 games will remain in the final 9 weeks of the season. It’s going to be up to the Timbers to take advantage of that to get into the playoffs and be fresh for the run to the MLS Cup.
But first up will be hosting the Colorado Rapids. In their last match they gifted DC United all 3 points when Jared Watts sent a 40+ yard backpass to Tim Howard and the USMNT goalkeeper wasn’t fast enough to get onto the end of the pass. He watched the ball skip past his toe and glide another 10 yards into the net. I’m sure the Timbers Army can’t wait to greet him in their customary manner when he enters the north end net.
Colorado are not doing well with their interim head coach Steve Cooke following the sacking of Pablo Mastroeni earlier this month. They haven’t won since July 1st and still haven’t scored a goal under Cooke. Well, I guess they did actually...just in the wrong net. Not only are they a team mired in futility, their road record is pretty poor. They have failed to win 11 road games (9 losses, 2 draws) since October 16th of last season.
The deck continues to stack in favor of the Timbers. Portland has won every home game versus Colorado except for the very first one back on June 12, 2011. And in those 7 total MLS era home games, Portland has only conceded 3 goals. And those 6 home wins are the 2nd most home wins against any MLS opponent.
But we know the boys in green and gold like to make things difficult for themselves. And if they get too confident in their ability the narrative and parity of MLS will surely make them rue the evening. Already making it harder for themselves is the suspension of Larrys Mabiala; as well as injuries to Farfan, Gleeson, Adi, and Ridgewell.
They will need to be at their best, since a full strength Colorado Rapids could be a trap game (this is MLS after all). New York came in and disrupted the Timbers game, made it ugly, but the good guys got the win. They are the better side on paper tonight, and they’ll need to show that on the field too to sleep soundly with all three points.
Storylines and Predictions
Storylines: “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.”
Prediction Thread: Don’t forget to head over to the Rose City Forecast to get your guesses in before kickoff!
Watch it on: KPDX (PDX TV); Listen on: 750AM & 102.9FM
Where: Providence Park in Portland, Oregon
When: Wednesday, August 23rd at 7:30 p.m. PT
Portland Timbers: 10-9-7, 4th place in the Western Conference, 2-0 home win vs New York Red Bulls
Colorado Rapids: 6-13-4, 10th place in the Western Conference, 0-1 home loss vs DC United