The Colorado Rapids battled through a physical and energetic contest at Providence Park but ultimately succumbed to a 2-1 loss against the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night.
Playing the second game in eight days, interim head coach Steve Cooke made six changes to the starting lineup from last weekend’s 1-0 home loss against D.C. United. Defenders Mike da Fonte, Kortne Ford and Mekeil Williams were tasked with slowing down one of the most prolific attacks in MLS. Luis Gil made his first start in burgundy in the middle of the park, while Dillon Serna and Joshua Gatt would accompany Kevin Doyle in offense.
An entertaining first half saw three goals, one penalty kick miss and a cameo from the video review. All three tallies came in a span of seven minutes, with Diego Valeri opening up the scoresheet with a powerful header at the far post. Just two minutes later, Darlington Nagbe would double the Timbers’ lead with a cheeky chip at the far post.
Just when it seemed like the Rapids would be in for a long night, an individual play from Mohammed Saeid gave Colorado signs of hope. The Swedish midfielder would tally his first-ever MLS goal after picking off Lawrence Olum’s pass in the attacking half.
Minutes later, the Rapids would be on the negative end of a video review after da Fonte was called for a foul on Valeri inside the box. Midfielder Diego Guzmán would step up to the spotkick but the Costa Rica international would send his attempt wide of Tim Howard’s goal.
Desperate for goals, and road points, Marlon Hairston, Dominique Badji and Alan Gordon would all check in to the match in the early stages of the second stanza, hoping to trigger some a spark in the offensive end.
Despite the substitutions, the Rapids were unable to find their rhythm in the second half. The Timbers controlled possession of the ball, while also shutting down all of Colorado’s opportunities in the final minutes of the match.
The Rapids (6-14-4; 22 points) now turn their focus to the second of three Rocky Mountain Cup meetings against Real Salt Lake. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium