MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
07/17/2014 4:20 PM
07/17/2014 4:35 PM
Colorado (7-5-6) at Portland (4-6-9), 11 p.m.
Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of teams needing to get back on the winning track will clash on Friday as the Portland Timbers welcome the Colorado Rapids to Providence Park.
Portland has struggled for much of the season and finds itself in the eighth position in the crowded Western Conference with 21 points from 19 matches.
The club is five points behind FC Dallas for the final playoff berth in the West and needs to pick up points quickly following a 2-0 loss to Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders FC last Sunday.
After a scoreless first half, Seattle broke through in the 74th minute when an attempt from U.S. international Clint Dempsey was blocked by Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and bounced to Obafemi Martins, who was denied again by a sprawling Ricketts. But the subsequent deflection landed directly in front of Dempsey and the Seattle captain didn't miss, blasting a short- range attempt into the top right corner to give Seattle the 1-0 lead.
Portland almost found an equalizer late on when a strike from Gaston Ramirez smashed the right post, but Seattle put the result away three minutes from time when Marco Pappa fired home the insurance tally to ensure all three points went home with the Sounders.
"We made it a tight game, which is what you need to do when you're playing on the road against a team like the Seattle Sounders. There's a reason why they're 38 points at the top of the table -- they're a very good team," Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said.
"At the end of the day, you have to credit Seattle. Again, that's why they're at the top of the table. But I thought we made it a game. We did a lot of things well, especially in the first half, but ultimately we wore down in the second half."
"We had heavy legs from Wednesday obviously. They brought in Obafemi Martins -- good player, I thought he changed the game. It really gave us a lot of problems when him and [Clint] Dempsey went up top. It was a tough matchup, so we did our best to contain them, but eventually they broke us down," added Timbers captain Will Johnson.
Colorado, meanwhile, will visit Portland hoping to claim its first win in the Rose City since 2011. The Rapids are coming off a 3-3 draw with the Philadelphia Union which saw the side rally from a 3-1 deficit with 15 minutes to play to claim a point.
With the Rapids trailing late, Dillon Powers converted a penalty kick following a red card to Union midfielder Michael Lahoud in the 79th minute and Deshorn Brown netted the equalizer four minutes from time to pull it out of the fire for Colorado.
"I thought that the character the guys showed was great, to come back from 3-1 down in a difficult place to play, against a team that's in a good run of form, it was great, that's the overwhelming feeling I have for this game," Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said.
"I think that Deshorn is one of the more dangerous forwards in the league," Mastroeni added. "You're going to have moments where things aren't going your way. But the mindset to be able to make good on one opportunity and really make a difference in the game says a lot about who he is as a person, he doesn't give up, he keeps working hard and that's the mentality that I think all the guys who stepped on the field had."
Friday's clash will be the second meeting of the season between the sides. The previous match as Colorado earn a 2-0 win over Portland on March 22 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
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