The Portland Timbers (7-2D-8, 23 pts) will be back at Providence Park Saturday night for a classic summer evening of fun and revelry. Their opponents, the Colorado Rapids (5-4D-10, 19 pts), find themselves in last place of the Western Conference standings after earning only a two points in their first 11 MLS matches.
One of those points, of course, came against the Timbers during the infamous “Snow Clásico” season opener at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park way back in March. Despite having a goal and man advantage, the Timbers weren’t able to keep Colorado’s Andre Shinyashiki from scoring the latest of equalizers. Both teams struggled to find results before making drastic improvements, and both now find themselves in good form and ready to make a run toward the playoffs.
The most surprising similarity between the two teams, though, was their results against league-leaders and Supporters’ Shield guarantors LAFC. Colorado and Portland both sat deep and absorbed over 60% possession from LAFC before grabbing second-half winners. While the Timbers definitely showed a bit more bite than Colorado going forward, three points against the clear MVP & co. is always a promising sign.
Oh, by the way—LAFC have only lost three matches the entire season.
Make no mistake, Portland will be fully expected to come away from tonight’s match with three points. The Timbers are fresh off two results that no other team has this season—winning in Yankee Stadium and Banc of California Stadium—in the same week. While some may point to the win against LAFC as an unimportant US Open Cup fixture, both managers clearly prioritized the match and put out first-team squads. Even more impressive was the performance at NYCFC, in which Portland outplayed the Eastern Conference giants without Diego Chará in the starting XI.
Additionally, the Timbers have won six of their last seven matches in all competitions. (The lone blemish in Montreal was no surprise to anyone who glanced at the team sheets prior to kickoff—Giovanni Savarese basically brought a T2 squad with him and still nearly earned a midweek non-conference road point.) Since the grand re-opener against LAFC, Portland has won their three home matches by a combined score of 9-0.
Colorado will also be missing an important piece of their squad: regular starting midfielder Kellyn Acosta picked up two yellow cards in added time of the Rapids’ home loss to New England last week.
Overall, this is essentially a must-win for the Timbers. These are the exact home matches that Portland needs to earn points from to make up for the early-season road mistakes, especially against a Western Conference foe. Colorado will be hungry for points as well, but Portland knows they are the better squad and three points are expected.
Prediction: 3-0 Portland