Editor’s note: After every PTFC match, Timbers.com publishes the Night in Pictures – a look back at the sights that defined that day’s game. Going forward, staff photographer Craig Mitchelldyer — onsite for every club home game, and more — will be providing his insight into the process, telling us how the day’s standout images went from eye to lens, and lens to screen. Here are his best from Wednesday, September 15’s game between the Portland Timbers and Colorado Rapids.
Hover over each image, below, to see an arrow to the right of the frame that allows you to flip through each set of pictures. Keep scrolling down the page for more images and galleries from the Timbers' match against Colorado.
It was great to be back in Providence Park after the team had been on the road for five straight games. I knew the match was going to be a battle with third place Colorado coming in.
Sports photography, and soccer especially is a funny thing; the images are only as good as the game on the field. If it is a bad game, the pictures generally reflect that. If it is a great game, there is usually a great picture or two to go with it. This was one of those nights where the images are only good because the game was good, as well.
When Bill Tuiloma picked up his second yellow in the 42nd minute, I knew that the game was going to become a defensive, physical battle. In addition, the Timbers were about to set a record for most consecutive minutes without allowing a goal. All of these factors come into my mind, and I needed to tell the story of the game. Luckily, Steve Clark made some nice saves which also made decent photos.
The Rapids scored midway through the second half, and then the game got very chippy. I love it when things get intense. You could feel the energy in the stadium and when Felipe Mora's header equalized almost exactly three minutes later. That’s when the game got really good. I was able to make a great series of images of Mora and Dario Zuparic celebrating with my 500mm lens and then quickly switched to my 85mm lens to get a wider shot of the whole team celebrating with Mora.
In the 87th minute, Michael Barrios scored an unbelievable goal to once again give the Rapids the lead, but the energy in the stadium never let off, and you could feel that the game wasn't over just yet. Then, in the 91st, Sebastian Blanco scored the equalizer, and the celebration photos almost were identical to those of Mora.
Sometimes a tie feels like a win, Sometimes, the photos feel like a win, too. Tonight was one of those nights.