Each Major League Soccer matchday in 2021, the KeyBank Scouting Report will gives a snapshot of the Portland Timbers’ next opponent. Following their Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs Round One triumph over Minnesota United FC, Portland advanced to the Western Conference Semifinal against the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in a special Thanksgiving Day match this Thursday (1:30pm PT, FOX).
How They Got Here
The Rapids ended the 2021 regular season in first place in the Western Conference with a record of 17-7-10, good for 61 points and a bye into the conference semifinals.
Competing in the upper half of the conference all season, Colorado snatched first place on MLS Decision Day with a 5-2 victory over LAFC. It was the most goals the Rapids scored in a match all year and featured a brace from midfielder Johnathan Lewis. The win, and having Seattle and Sporting KC drop points, meant Colorado finished the regular season in first place for the first time in their club's history while also clinching a spot in the Concacaf Champions League.
Led by third-year coach Robin Fraser, Colorado had a plus-16 goal differential in 2021, allowed 35 goals on the year – second fewest in the Western Conference – and lost only once at their home field of Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Portland was 0-1-1 against Colorado in 2021 with a 10-man Timbers side drawing 2-2 with them at Providence Park on Sept. 15 followed by a 1-0 loss on Nov. 4 on the road.
Colorado's roster is not led by one dominate goalscorer. In fact, 18 different players tallied for the Rapids in 2021 with Michael Barrios leading the team with eight. It is a roster built with a number of MLS veterans: Barrios came from Dallas, Johnathan Lewis (7G, 2A) from NYCFC, Dominique Badji (5G) started with Colorado before playing for Dallas and Nashville and then returned to the Rocky Mountain State and Diego Rubio (5G, 6A) was a DP with KC before his time with the Rapids.
In fact, their one Designated Player, Younes Namli, has just one goal in 11 matches for Colorado.
English midfielder Jack Price was first on the team and tied for second in MLS with 12 assists. Also of note, Homegrown midfielder Cole Bassett had five goals and four assists on the season.
Like many of their offensive weapons, Colorado's defense features a number of players with strong domestic MLS experience. Auston Trusty (33 starts – highest among field players) and Keegan Rosenberry (30 starts) both arrived from Philadelphia while defender Lalas Abubakar (24 starts) came over from Crew SC,.
In the midfield, U.S. international Kellyn Acosta is a former FC Dallas player, Canadian international Mark-Anthony Kaye once patrolled the middle of the field for LAFC and Nicholás Mezquida is a veteran from the Whitecaps.
Goalkeeper William Yarbrough appeared in all but one of the Rapids games in 2021, achieving a record of 17-6-10. His 17 wins were the most among goalkeepers in MLS and his 13 clean sheets was tied for first in the league.
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