Colorado Rapids Come up Short Against Portland

Written by Paul Fritz

Coming into Saturday night’s matchup, the Colorado Rapids were desperate to turn in an aggressive performance in hopes of stopping their five-game losing streak. After a hard-fought battle, the Rapids were unsuccessful in front of goal and ultimately fell to the in-form Portland Timbers by a score of 3-2. While certain individual showings provided promise for the struggling Rapids, the only thing that can satisfy the Colorado faithful moving forward will be victories.

It took a while before both sides were able to gather themselves. The Rapids first real scoring chance came in the 27th minute from a long-distance rocket by #19 Jack Price but was blocked at the last second by Timber’s goalkeeper Jeff Attinella. Shortly after, the Timbers established possession in the Rapids half which ended with a stellar back-heel flick by striker Samuel Armenteros that completely fooled Rapids defender Danny Wilson. With a familiar theme this year of conceding the first goal, Colorado knew they needed an answer before half-time. Just two minutes later, left-winger Edgar Castillo made a quick dribble past the Timber’s last defender and slotted it into the path of forward Dominique Badji where he tapped it in for an easy equalizer. At this point, the game was opening up and more chances were being created. The Timbers took advantage of this open play with their second goal of the half by who other than Armentero. Tim Howard misplayed a lobbed cross into the box, which stayed in play and landed into the path of Armentero who chested it into the back of the net.

The Rapids headed into the 2nd half with two substitutions, something Head Coach Anthony Hudson has become accustomed to as he is not afraid to change tactics in game if certain players aren’t being effective. On the substitutions, Hudson said, “I personally don’t think there was much between the two teams tonight other than making a couple mistakes that cost us. Late in the game we’re going for it, we’re pushing bodies forward and it’s opened up. The changes were changes I needed to make.”

Urgent to score and tie the game, the Rapids pressed heavily into the Timbers zone. While this strategy was effective in getting the ball into near the goal, they were eventually caught off guard after Sebastian Blanco stole possession and started a fast break that ended in a perfectly placed pass, then slotted in by forward Diego Valeri. At 56 minutes into the game, the Timbers led 3 goals to 1. The Rapids continued to press through the rest of the game and eventually found the back of the net, only for the goal to be overturned at the hands of the newly employed Video Assistant Referee system. It wasn’t until the last moments of the game that the Rapids found their 2nd goal, when substitute Yannick Boli converted a smooth chip penalty shot that fooled the diving Timbers keeper.

When asked about how close the team is to achieving success, Hudson said, “Going into tonight, we had such a good week. I felt confident, the players felt confident. And I think when you’re on a run like this, and a night like tonight, your confidence gets hit a little bit. Any way you get confidence back is work harder, stick together, be more focused on your job and think more clearly about the game next Saturday. We have to show character.”

The Rapids were successful in curbing some of the issues that they have suffered from this season. They completed over 80% of their passes and looked more confident in terms of taking chances in front of goal. There were also moments where they effectively pressed on offense, giving them several chances to shoot. However, the consequence of that strategy left their defense vulnerable on the counter attack, something they will need to address before next match.

Colorado will remain at home next Friday where they will take on the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Rapids have fallen to the very bottom of the table and will need to turn around their performance if they want to keep any remaining playoff hopes alive. On a six-game winning streak and moving into third place in the Western Conference, the Timbers will look to continue their strong form as they host the LA Galaxy on Saturday, June 2nd.

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