The Rapids capped off a historic season in front of a home crowd on Thanksgiving Day as they fell to the Portland Timbers 1-0 and were eliminated from the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs at DICK'S Sporting Goods Park.
After a scoreless first half, the Rapids held the attacking advantage, recording 57% possession and out-shooting Portland nine to two. Captain Jack Price took all five of Colorado's corners in the first 45. Seven different members of the Rapids squad had at least one shot on goal, with Diego Rubio and Dominique Badji recording two apiece. The Sengalese striker offered the most promising chance of the half, taking a header from inside the six in the 38th minute that Portland’s Steve Clark scrambled to block before the ball bounced out of bounds.
The back-and-forth second half proved challenging for each side, as neither team was able to capitalize on its chances. Danny Wilson kept the Rapids out of trouble in the 65th minute with a goal-line block, but Portland kept the pressure on until the final moments of the game.
It wasn’t until the 90th minute that either side was able to convert a goal. On their fourth corner of the night, the Timbers took advantage of a flurry of activity inside the box, and Larrys Mabiala was the one to finally find the back of the net for the only goal of the match.
Despite the result, the electric energy found in DICK'S Sporting Goods Park was one no fan, player or coach is soon to forget.
"I'm trying to think of how many times I've been in the stadium, even with other teams––and I've never seen our stadium look like that," Fraser said. "A big, big thank you to our entire front office for being able to to produce an effect like that and a big thank you to the fans. They were phenomenal. We heard them the whole way. We would love to give them something more to cheer about but it was the best atmosphere I've ever seen inside the stadium."
After finishing at the top of the Western Conference to conclude the regular season with 61 points and clinching a playoff berth for the second consecutive year under Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year finalist Robin Fraser, the Rapids have numerous accomplishments to look back on from their 2021 campaign.
One such accomplishment is Colorado’s place in the Scotiabank 2022 Concacaf Champions League, a spot they earned through their first place finish in the West. The Rapids will learn their Round of 16 opponent on December 15, the official draw date of CCL.
The Rapids finish the 2021 season with a 17-8-10 record and positive outlook for growth in 2022.
"I feel we've come leaps and bounds this season," Price said post-match. "We've grown as a team, you know, the bond, the togetherness is as strong as ever, this will only make us stronger again. We're very disappointed, but yeah, we will come back stronger."
Up Next: The Rapids look forward to the official Concacaf Champions League Draw on December 15 before jump-starting the 2022 season on the road against LAFC on February 26 and opening their home campaign on March 5 against Atlanta United FC.