COMMERCE CITY, Colo. ― The Colorado Rapids (12-4-6, 42 points) will make their first visit to the Pacific Northwest when they visit the Portland Timbers (10-10-3, 33 points) on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Kickoff is set for 8 PM at Providence Park. The match will be locally televised on Altitude Sports, with pregame coverage beginning at 7:30 PM. Fans can also tune into Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM for pregame coverage starting at 7:45 PM.
“[Portland has] a number of really good attacking players,” Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said. “[Diego] Valeri has ben one of the best players in the league for 10 years now. And [Sebastian] Blanco is certainly a player who has really come into his own. He’s come back from his injury. He looks to be good again. Felipe Mora, really dangerous in the air. He’s had a good year, scoring a number of good goals. They have a number of really good players. They can hurt you at any moment in literally any situation. It’s actually really exciting for me because we have a number of players who are playing well and you can only play so many at a time. And when we have this many games, it will give us an opportunity to get more guys playing time. We feel really strongly about the group. As we’ve seen in the last couple of games, we’re not afraid to make changes. We do expect our guys to come in and raise our level.”
The Rapids will look to extend their eight-game unbeaten streak, the longest active streak in MLS, to nine games with a result on Wednesday. Colorado is 5-0-3 (W-L-D) in its last eight games, its longest unbeaten run since Fraser took over as head coach just over two years ago.
Colorado can also tie the club record for longest road unbeaten streak with a result on Wednesday. The Rapids are currently unbeaten in their last five road games, going 4-0-1 in that time. A win or draw in Portland would tie a club record set from April to July 2016, when the Rapids went 2-0-4 on the road.
Michael Barrios scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season as the Rapids tied LA Galaxy, 1-1, at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park on Saturday. Andre Shinyashiki curled in his cross to the far post, where a leaping Barrios headed it in for the opening goal. Samuel Grandsir equalized for LA in the 80th minute.
The match saw Brazilian left back Lucas Esteves play 90 minutes in his Rapids home debut. Collen Warner picked up an assist on Barrios’ goal, giving Colorado a league-high 17 players with at least one assist this season. Thirteen Rapids players have at least one goal this season, tied for third-most in MLS.
Goalkeeper William Yarbrough has been among the best in MLS during Colorado’s current eight-game unbeaten run. His 86.7 save percentage is the highest among goalkeepers with at least three games played since July 31; his 32 saves are second-most and his three clean sheets are tied for second in MLS in that time.
This is Colorado’s first meeting with Portland since Nov. 4, 2020, when Kellyn Acosta scored in the 83rd minute to lead the Rapids to a 1-0 win, their first in Portland since their first visit in 2011, and clinch a playoff berth. The Timbers will visit DICK’S Sporting Goods Park for the second and final regular-season meeting on Oct. 23.
Portland enters the match on an impressive three-game winning streak that saw the Timbers earn clean sheet victories in Seattle, Houston and Vancouver. Sebastian Blanco and Felipe Mora scored in a 2-0 win at Lumen Field on Aug. 29. Mora and Yimmi Chara scored to earn a 2-0 win over Dynamo FC on Sept. 3. Then on Friday in Vancouver, the Timbers took a 1-0 lead on a Whitecaps FC own goal and held on in a frantic finish to win their third straight game. The Timbers haven’t allowed a goal in 331 minutes of play, the longest active streak in MLS and the fourth-longest of the season.
Mora leads the Timbers with nine goals, while Marvin Loría leads the team with five assists. Five different players have started in goal for Portland this season, with Steve Clark leading the way with 13 starts and 42 saves.
“It’s the final stretch of the season, getting ready for playoffs,” Lewis said. “Having the full unit, it’s going to be good for rotation. Everyone’s going to be ready so if anyone needs to step up, it’s the next man up mentality.”
News & Notes
- Jack Price’s next start will be his 90th in the regular season with the club. He will be the 18th player in club history to reach the milestone.
- Mark-Anthony Kaye has three goals and one assist in seven career appearances against Portland, his highest total against any MLS opponent.
- Dominique Badji has two goals and one assist in nine career MLS appearances against Portland.
- Diego Rubio has two goals and one assist in six career MLS appearances against the Timbers.
- Younes Namli assisted on M Kellyn Acosta’s playoff-clinching goal in his only match against Portland.
- Michael Barrios has three goals in 11 career MLS matches against Portland.
- Collen Warner picked up his first assist since 2017 on F Michael Barrios’ goal on Saturday against LA. The Rapids now have 17 players with at least one assist this season, the most in MLS. No other team has more than 15.