A sublime second-half goal from striker Dominique Badji and a late Alan Gordon header proved enough to give the Colorado Rapids a well-deserved three points on Saturday night, downing the Portland Timbers at home, 2-1, in front of 15,461 fans at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
A tremendously entertaining affair throughout, it was Gordon’s 89th-minute goal – his second as a Rapid – that proved the difference as Pablo Mastroeni’s men earned their third consecutive victory to continue their ascent up the Western Conference standings.
The Rapids were forced to come from behind, however, after the Timbers took a 1-0 lead in the game’s early stages after midfielder Sebastian Blanco curled his 18th-minute effort past Rapids keeper Tim Howard. Blanco then nearly doubled his tally, only to be denied by a sprawling Howard who did well to push the Argentine’s shot wide of frame.
Down a goal at the start of the second stanza, the home side came roaring to life in the 51st-minute when Rapids playmaker Kevin Doyle dropped deep to collect the ball in his own half and played a perfectly-weighted through-ball to Dominque Badji who showed calm under pressure to chip Timbers’ keeper Jake Gleeson and level the score.
Undeterred, the Timbers continued to apply pressure on the Rapids back line, continually finding forward Fanendo Adi in dangerous spaces. After putting an early second-half effort wide from just outside the six, Adi came close again in the in the 52nd-minute only to see his shot narrowly deflected wide courtesy of Rapids centerback, Kortne Ford – who played well throughout.
It was the Rapids who then nearly took the lead in the 59th-minute when Marlon Hairston’s cross found Doyle, whose header to the far post lost loooked destined for the back of the net, if not for an acrobatic save from Gleeson.
Doyle would come close again in the 74th-minute, driving a low shot across the face of goal that was parried away. Then, just minutes later, it was the Irish international who again brought the fans to their feet as his 30-yard drive fizzed inches wide of Gleeson’s far post.
In the end though, it was Alan Gordon who provided the winner, heading home a cross from HealthONE Man of the Match, Mohammed Saeid, in the 89th-minute to secure maximum points and send the home faithful in to a frenzy.
The Rapids (5-8-1; 16 points) now sit in 10th-place in the Western Conference ahead of Wednesday’s clash with the 8th-place LA Galaxy. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. MT (Altitude) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Colorado Rapids 2-1 Portland Timbers
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, CO
Saturday, June 17, 2017
POR: Sebastian Blanco (Diego Valeri) 20’
COL: Dominique Badji (Kevin Doyle) 51'
COL: Alan Gordon (Mohammed Saeid, Caleb Calvert) 89'
POR: Diego Valeri (caution) 61’
COL: Alan Gordon (caution) 90’
Colorado Rapids: Tim Howard; Marlon Hairston, Kortne Ford, Axel Sjöberg, Mike da Fonte; Mohammed Saeid, Micheal Azira, Jared Watts (Dillon Serna 52’), Joshua Gatt (Alan Gordon 80’); Dominique Badji (Caleb Calvert 72’), Kevin Doyle.
Subs not used: Zac MacMath, Eric Miller, Mekeil Williams, Dillon Powers.
Portland Timbers: Jake Gleeson; Zarek Valentin (Alvas Powell 81’), Lawrence Olum, Roy Miller, Vytas (Jeremy Ebobisse 90’); Dairon Asprilla (Amobi Okugo 82’), Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco; Fanendo Adi.
Subs not used: Jeff Attinella, Ben Zemanski, Marco Farfan, Victor Arboleda.
Colorado Rapids: 5-8-1 (16 points)
Portland Timbers: 7-6-3 (24 points)