KeyBank Scouting Report Matchday Preview | Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers | Sept. 13, 2014

COLORADO RAPIDS vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
Sept. 13, 2014 (WEEK 27, MLS Game #262)
6 p.m. PT (KPDX/Estrella)

Two teams chasing what could be the final playoff position in the Western Conference meet in a crucial contest when the Colorado Rapids take on the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are looking to put an end to their club-record losing slide, extended to seven games in a 6-0 loss at the LA Galaxy last weekend. The Timbers now find themselves just two points outside the final playoff position in the division, following their 3-3 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at Providence Park last weekend.

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers performed another comeback to snatch a point, getting a late equalizer for a 3-3 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Providence Park. The Timbers are in sixth place in the Western Conference with 35 points from 27 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The opening goal came in the 21st minute. Timbers’ keeper Donovan Ricketts saved the first shot from Shea Salinas, but he collected the rebound and fired off another shot that banged off the goalpost straight to Chris Wondolowski for a tap-in.
     
  • San Jose was opportunistic again in the 48th minute. Cordell Cato crossed to Wondolowski in the box. Timbers center back Pa Modou Kah’s clearance attempt fell right back to Cato, and he slammed home from the right side of the box.
     
  • The Timbers pulled a goal back in the 54th minute when Diego Valeri chipped a perfect ball down the right to Alvas Powell, who brushed off two defenders and popped a shot into the upper far corner. The game was then tied 75th minute thanks to another brilliant feed by Valeri. He sent a cross across the goalmouth that Alhassan was unable to reach, but was ball was bundled across the line by Liam Ridgewell at the back post.
     
  • But the Quakes regained the lead in the 85th minute when Salinas floated a long cross from the left to Wondolowski, who easily nodded home a clear header.
     
  • Yet a minute later, the Timbers had one more answer. Powell collected the ball to the right of the San Jose goal and played it back to Kalif Alhassan, and he stabbed home game-tying goal from the edge of the six-yard box.
     
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made one change to the team that rolled to a 3-0 victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Gaston Fernandez came into the team with Rodney Wallace on international duty.
     
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-2-3): Donovan Ricketts - Alvas Powell, Liam Ridgewell, Pa Modou Kah, Jorge Villafana - Will Johnson - Diego Chara, Gaston Fernandez (Kalif Alhassan 61) - Darlington Nagbe, Fanendo Adi (Maximiliano Urruti 71), Diego Valeri.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Timbers took a total of 32 attempts at goal – the third-highest total in MLS history – in coming back for the draw with San Jose. It was the 13th time this season the Timbers have gained at least one point after allowing the opening goal (4-6-9).
     
  • “The positive is we came back from down two goals, came back from the death at 3-2. We are a mentally strong team to be able to do that. There are not many teams in the league that would be able to come back, to pull that out,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “Those are positives. We are still in the fifth spot, playoff position. Those things can’t get lost in the shuffle of the craziness of the way this game played out and ultimately the disappointment in the fact that we got a draw instead of a win.”
     
  • The Timbers were also the first team to come back from two separate deficits of at least two goals this season to grab a result, also doing it in the 2-2 draw with FC Dallas on June 11.
     
  • “The negative is that in getting 32 shots we probably could have scored 10 goals, realistically. I’m not joking. We scored three goals and it’s kind of ironic that we’re saying we didn’t do well enough in the finishing,” said Porter. “For me the first 20 minutes we’ve got to find a goal. It was our best first 20 minutes of the year. Completely dominant, seven or eight clear chances. We were absolutely on top of them. We had complete grip on the game, and the first time they get a chance it’s a goal. A lot of positives, more than negatives, but we’ve got to do a bit better with our chances.”
     
  • Said Will Johnson: “We haven’t had problems scoring goals all year. It’s just that we sit here and feel that we’ve scored some good goals and gave up some bad ones.”
     
  • Alvas Powell scored his second MLS goal – both coming in the past two weeks – to give the Timbers early hope.
     
  • Diego Valeri contributed assists on all three Timbers goals, the seventh multiple-assist game of his MLS career and his second three-assist contest this year (also: June 1 vs. Vancouver). Valeri is now in a tie for second place in the league with 12 assists, after leading MLS with 13 assists a year ago.
     
  • “In professional soccer it’s hard to create chances. It’s maybe that hardest thing to do. So we could do that [today],” said Valeri. “We missed a lot of chances, but we scored three goals. It’s a strange feeling.”
     
  • Liam Ridgewell scored his second career MLS goal, both coming over the past four weeks. He has been ever-present in central defense over the last eight games.
     
  • “Obviously the three goals [conceded] are disappointing. It’s something we’ve got to work on going forward. Just one of those days,” Ridgewell said. “I think we had so many chances. We’ve got to be a little bit livelier and a little bit sharper when they’re looking to score. Just got to work on it.”
     
  • Kalif Alhassan scored his first league goal of the season, his first goal since last Oct. 13 when he netted against Seattle.

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids had their losing skid stretched to seven games, going to a 6-0 defeat by the LA Galaxy last Friday evening at StubHub Center. The Rapids are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 30 points from 27 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game changed dramatically just 33 seconds into the game. Rapids goalkeeper Joe Nasco couldn’t take the ball off Alan Gordon’s feet on a low cross from the left, and he grabbed Gordon’s ankles, taking him down as he tried to shoot. Marc Burch cleared the ball off the line, but referee Baldomero Toledo whistled for a penalty kick and showed Nasco the red card – the fastest expulsion in MLS history.
     
  • Clint Irwin came on between the posts, and Landon Donovan chipped the resulting penalty kick easily up the middle to give LA a fifth-minute lead.
     
  • The score was 2-0 in the 30th minute. Marcelo Sarvas took a pass from Donovan well above the Rapids box, then played it forward for Gordon, who with the outside of his right foot sent it behind him and into the box where Baggio Husidic collected it and curled a shot past Irwin and inside the right post.
     
  • Gyasi Zardes made it 3-0 in first half stoppage time when he finished after Donovan redirected a Husidic pass into his path in Colorado’s box, and Donovan made it 4-0 two minutes into the second half, converting a second penalty of the contest after Chris Klute fouled Zardes in the box.
     
  • Zardes nodded home an Stefan Ishizaki cross to make the score 5-0 in the 75th minute. Husidic completed the rout by finishing off another well-worked team goal and slotting home in the 86th minute.
     
  • Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni made one change to the team that fell 1-0 to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Jose Mari came into the midfield in place of Marlon Hairston.
     
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-1-1): Joe Nasco (ejected 1) - Christopher Klute, Thomas Piermayr, Marvell Wynne, Marc Burch - Deshorn Brown, Jose Mari, Nick LaBrocca (Marlon Hairston 52), Dillon Serna - Dillon Powers (Vicente Sanchez 53) - Edson Buddle.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Rapids lost for a seventh consecutive match – the longest losing streak in the club’s 19-year history – in the defeat at the LA Galaxy. The previous record was six games, set in 1997 and 2012.
     
  • It was the fifth time in the team’s history they’ve conceded six goals or more in a game, the first since 2004 – the third time the Galaxy have scored six-plus vs. Colorado. The club record is seven goals allowed in a 7-4 LA win in 1998.
     
  • “There was a decision made early that definitely flipped [the game] on its head,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said. “I think it changed the whole landscape; the whole week, everything of the planning goes down the tubes and it’s about survival at that point. You’re down a goal; you’re down a man 30 seconds into a game and now you’re just trying to stay in it, stay organized.”
     
  • Joe Nasco was sent off in the first minute of the match, the earliest red card from the start of a match in MLS history. In 2009, New York Red Bulls defender Carlos Johnson was ejected in the second minute of a 1-0 loss to the Kansas City Wizards for the previous record.
     
  • “What I’ve learned [is] it’s not what happens to you but how you react to it, and I think there is a lot of learning to be done as to how we now deal with playing a man down, regardless of who we’re playing against, where we’re playing,” Mastroeni said. “That’s going to be the part that I really contemplate and revisit and prepare the group for the next situation where we’re a man down.”
     
  • The six-goal margin of defeat was the largest in Colorado club history, tied for the second-highest in MLS history and the worst loss suffered by any MLS team in five years.
     
  • “It’s a learning experience. It’s one game at the end of the day; it’s not the end of the world,” said forward Edson Buddle. “First-year players, second-year players are a little bit harder on themselves right now, but I’m here to let them know that it’s not the end of the road, it’s only one game. We have tomorrow and next week to get better.”
     
  • The Rapids conceded multiple goals for the fifth time in their seven-game losing slide. They have allowed 22 goals in the seven games, dating back to July 30.
     
  • The Rapids were also shut out at the attacking end for a second consecutive match, now 240 minutes since scoring their last goal. They were also shut out in back-to-back games July 30-Aug. 2 in losses to New England and Real Salt Lake.
     
  • José Mari returned to the lineup after a one-match absence, coming into the center of midfield. Dillon Serna was making his second consecutive start after missing a match, but he was sacrificed in the early minutes in favor of goalkeeper Clint Irwin after the Nasco sending-off.
     
  • “For a really young group there are a lot of guys that are seeking answers,” Mastroeni said. “The secret about life is that the answer comes from within; there is no guru that will give you the answer. There is a lot of reflection, self-analyzing and then someone in that group stepping up and putting the team on their back. That’s the only way you ever come to terms with situations like this. There is no secret. There is no guy you can bring in that’s going to change the landscape of everything.”

REFEREE: Drew Fischer. SAR (bench): Eric Boria; JAR (opposite): Jeremy Hanson; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 37 games; FC/gm: 26.4; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 3; pens: 11

SUSPENDED: COL: Joe Nasco (through Sept. 14)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL: Thomas Piermayr … POR: Diego Chara, Will Johnson
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Carlos Alvarez, Nick LaBrocca … POR: Norbetto Paparatto, Pa Modou Kah, Diego Valeri
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: COL: Gabriel Torres (Panama, Copa Centroamericana)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Rapids 5 wins, 15 goals … Timbers 4 wins, 10 goals … Ties 1
AT COLORADO (5 meetings): Rapids 4 wins, 13 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 3 goals … Ties 1

2014 (MLS):
3/22: COL 2, POR 0 (Sanchez 73; Brown 75)
7/18: POR 2, COL 1 (Urruti 72; Valeri 77 – Brown 16)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Maximiliano Urruti and Diego Valeri scored late second-half goals to pull the Timbers back for a 2-1 win July 18 at Providence Park; Vicente Sánchez converted a penalty kick and Deshorn Brown knocked home a rebound from a saved penalty two minutes apart as the Rapids took a 2-0 victory March 22 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The Rapids have never lost at home to Portland. They have won four of the five encounters all-time in Commerce City following the win this season.
  • The Timbers have won their last four home games in the series. The Rapids goal in the last meeting was their first in Portland in four visits, since their first-ever game in the Rose City in 2011.
  • Coaches record: Caleb Porter vs. COL: P5 W3 L1 D1 … Pablo Mastroeni vs. POR: P2 W1 L1 D0

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The Rapids took the lead in the 16th minute. From a corner kick, a Drew Moor header was first saved by Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. A rebound was driven right back into the hands of the ‘keeper, but not secured and eventually bundled over the line by Deshorn Brown despite a last-ditch clearance attempt.
  • The Timbers pulled level in the 72nd minute through substitute Maximiliano Urruri. Capping off a beautiful team move, Jack Jewsbury was played in down the right by Will Johnson and sent in a cross for a charging Urruti to chip in at the near post.
  • Then, five minutes later, Diego Chara set up Diego Valeri in space from approximately 30 yards out for a fading blast that a diving Clint Irwin in the Colorado goal had no chance at saving.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-2-3): Donovan Ricketts - Michael Harrington, Danny O'Rourke, Liam Ridgewell, Jack Jewsbury - Will Johnson - Diego Valeri, Diego Chara - Darlington Nagbe (Rodney Wallace 92+), Fanendo Adi (Maximiliano Urruti 61), Steve Zakuani (Gaston Fernandez 61).
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Clint Irwin - Thomas Piermayr, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute - Jared Watts, Dillon Powers - Dillon Serna (Kamani Hill 83), Marlon Hairston (Gabriel Torres 65), Carlos Alvarez - Deshorn Brown (Danny Mwanga 24).
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