COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Colorado Rapids (4-14-10, 22 pts) visit Portland Timbers FC (11-9-9, 42 pts) at Providence Park this Saturday, September 23, for Matchday 34 (8:30 p.m. MT; Apple TV – MLS Season Pass, Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM).
The Rapids’ trip to the Pacific Northwest continues a stretch of seven matches in 22 days as the club closes out the 2023 MLS regular season. On Wednesday, Colorado fell 2-1 to Seattle Sounders FC, falling short of completing a comeback effort after trailing 2-0 shortly after the start of the second half. Interim head coach Chris Little made three changes in the 62nd minute, subbing on forward Diego Rubio, winger Braian Galván and newly acquired winger Luis Díaz, who made his Rapids debut against Seattle. The substitutes changed the Rapids’ dynamic, with the team putting together a stretch of connected play that led to a goal from homegrown midfielder Cole Bassett in the 80th minute, his second goal in as many games after scoring in the club’s 2-1 win over the New England Revolution last weekend. The goal marked Bassett’s 17th career MLS goal, the most by any Homegrown Player in club history.
Wednesday’s match will be the second time the Rapids face the Timbers this season. Their first encounter ended in a scoreless draw at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park following a weather-induced postponement that split the game across multiple days. After playing the entirety of the first half of the match on July 4, a thunderstorm caused a delay that lasted 80 minutes before officials postponed the match at halftime to July 12. The second half ended with neither team finding the back of the net.
Since Portland’s dismissal of head coach Giovanni Savarese on August 21, the Timbers have lost just once (4-1-1) and are unbeaten in their last five games, winning four and drawing one in that span. The Timbers have scored two goals in six-straight games and look to continue the offensive output after struggling to score more than one goal for a ten-game stretch from May 17 to July 12 that saw Portland kept off the scoresheet on five occasions. Despite the offense picking up, Portland has let in the second-most goals in the league with 46. The Timbers have been stronger at home, recording eight of their 10 wins at Providence Park (8-4-3). Most recently, Portland won 2-1 against a visiting San Jose Earthquakes last Wednesday, with midfielders Cristhian Paredes and Evander finding the back of the net before San Jose responded in the 60th minute. The Timbers were able to close out the remainder of the game for their third-straight win, their longest stretch of consecutive wins this season. Paredes will be unavailable Saturday against the Rapids because of suspension due to yellow card accumulation.
The Rapids will encounter familiar faces as they travel to Oregon. Timbers midfielder Bryan Acosta was traded from the Rapids to Portland on July 31 after two seasons with Colorado in which he logged 40 appearances and four assists with the team. Since joining Portland, the Honduran has made four appearances and added one assist, which he recorded in the last game against San Jose. Timbers defender Eric Miller is another familiar face after spending three seasons with the Rapids from 2016 to 2018, logging 56 appearances and an assist with the club.
Colorado and Portland have clashed 28 times since the Timbers' debut season in 2011. Portland has a single-game advantage in the series matchup, posting an 11-10-7 record against the Colorado side overall. At home, the Timbers have dominated the series, winning nine of the 13 games at Providence Park going 9-2-2 record. The last time both sides faced each other in Portland, the Timbers came away with a 3-0 win on June 25, 2022, in a match that saw Rapids homegrown goalkeeper Abe Rodriguez make his MLS debut after William Yarbrough was forced off due to a head injury.