PORTLAND, Ore. – The Timbers are headed to the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs on a brace from Darlington Nagbe, and insurance goals from Jorge Villafana and Fanendo Adi, in a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids on a rain-soaked Sunday evening at Providence Park. It gives the Timbers three straight wins, their second longest winning streak of the season, to finish the season. It also bumps them all the way up to third place in the Western Conference with 53 points from 34 games.
Just three weeks ago, the Timbers were sitting outside the postseason picture all together after a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City. Tonight's result means Portland will host a Knockout Round match Thursday against sixth-place Sporting Kansas City (7:00pm PT, ROOT SPORTS). Playoff tickets set to go on sale at 10:00am PT, Monday.
Meanwhile, the season comes to an end for the Rapids – whose only goal on the night came from Dominique Badji – who sit at the basement of the West; where they were when the day started.
Portland very nearly opened the scoring in the second minute when Adi got on the end of a ball pinging around the Colorado box, but his header was pushed just wide by goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
Three minutes later, MacMath could do nothing to prevent Nagbe’s perfectly curled free kick from about 25 yards out for the opening goal.
Colorado took advantage of a Portland malaise stretch after the goal to equalize with one of their own in the 13th minute. After a nice build-up, Badji got free at the top of the box for a right-footed blast that deflected off Timbers center back Liam Ridgewell to throw off ‘keeper Adam Kwarasey, allowing it to bounce cleanly into the back of the net.
But Portland regained the lead in the 33rd minute when Lucas Melano sent in a well-placed cross to Nagbe, who skillfully redirected it off his head, past the outstretched MacMath and inside the far post for his third goal in the last two games.
Portland’s insurance goal came in the 63rd minute when Villafana sent a sizzling shot from the left wing that deflected off a Rapids defender and in. It was originally ruled an own goal but changed later.
Second-half substitute Dairon Asprilla nearly scored the Timbers’ fourth when he unleashed a right-footed shot from distance that MacMath was able to get just enough of a touch on it to direct it off the far post and out.
Asprilla did chip in on the fourth goal in the 88th minute, crossing to Adi in front of goal for an easy chest-in and his third goal in the last two outings.
It all marked a dominant Timbers performance that saw them lock up their second-ever MLS playoff appearance, all in the last three years under the leadership of head coach Caleb Porter.
Portland Timbers (15-11-8, 53pts) vs. Colorado Rapids (9-15-10, 37pts)
Oct. 25, 2015 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Colorado Rapids 1 0 1
Portland Timbers 2 2 4
POR: Nagbe, 5
COL: Badji, 13
POR: Nagbe (Melano), 33
POR: Villafaña (Nagbe, Wallace), 63
POR: Adi (Asprilla, Fochive), 88
POR: Powell (Caution), 24
COL: Powers (Caution), 40
COL: Pittinari (Caution), 44
POR: Melano (Caution), 53
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Kwarasey, D Powell, D Borchers, D Ridgewell ©, D Villafaña, M Chara (Jewsbury, 50), M Fochive, M Wallace, M Nagbe (Urruti, 87), M Melano (Asprilla, 64), F Adi
Substitutes Not Used: GK Gleeson, D Paparatto, D Peay, M Johnson
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Nagbe, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Adi, Nagbe, 2); FOULS: 14 (Adi, 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 1; SAVES: 1
COL: GK MacMath, D Hairston, D St. Ledger, D Sjoberg, D Figueroa, M Sarvas, M Pittinari, M Solignac (Sanchez, 79), M Powers (Ramirez, 70), M Badji, F Doyle ©
Substitutes Not Used: GK Irwin, D Burling, D Greenspan, M LaBrocca, F Torres
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Figueroa, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Badji, Figueroa, 1); FOULS: 18 (Pittinari, Sarvas, 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 1
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referees: Greg Barkey, Mike Rottersman
4th Official: Edvin Jurisevic
Time of Game: n/a
Weather: Rain, 54 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial