Portland Timber vs Colorado Rapids
MLS Regular Season, Week 19
July 13, 2019 - 9:00 PM
DICK'S Sporting Goods Park - Commerce City, Colorado
No snow this time around
The last meeting between these two clubs is remembered as much for what happened on the pitch as it is for the snowy conditions in Colorado on March 2. In the first game of the 2019 season, the Rapids opened against the Timbers in a frigid affair at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. Several inches of snow plus a 18F degree temperature at the kickoff made it officially the coldest MLS game of all time.
Dubbed #SnowClasico3, the match was one for the memory books. As the temperatures and snow dropped, the play on the pitch continued to heat up. The back-and-forth affair saw the Rapids overcome an early 10-man disadvantage not once, but twice, to eventually secure a point. Rookie forward Andre Shinyashiki’s stoppage-time equalizer stole the show and will stand as one of the most storied debuts in Rapids history.
You can re-live the epic battle in the blizzard below:
A changed Portland team awaits
For the second meeting of 2019 between these sides, it’s the Timbers that are serving as hosts. Their stadium, Providence Park, was under renovation for the past 20 months. The club re-opened on June 1, and this will be the Rapids first visit since. A byproduct of the construction is Portland’s wacky schedule: After beginning the season with 12-straight away games, the Timbers will play 14 of their remaining 17 games at home.
So far, they’ve done just fine protecting their (new) house. After suffering a loss to LAFC in the stadium's re-opening, the Timbers have won all three games played at Providence Park since.
As for their recent form in MLS, they’re coming off a 1-0 victory over NYCFC at Yankee Stadium in league play, which is notably only the second loss suffered by the Bronx club this season and their first at home. The Timbers also secured a 1-0 away win at LAFC in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night. It’ll be interesting to see how coach Giovanni Savarese manages his lineup for this one.
The man to watch out for on the opposing side is forward Brian Fernandez. The most expensive signing in Timbers history, Fernandez has not wasted any time since transferring to the club on May 6 from Necaxa of Liga MX. Coming into the match against NYCFC, the Argentinian had scored seven goals in his first five appearances (an MLS record) with three more in Open Cup matches for good measure. The Rapids backline, whose play has much improved over the past couple of weeks, will look to slow Fernandez by committee.
Both teams will be trying to get back in the Western Conference playoff race. With the Rapids and Timbers currently on the outside looking in, this is a game that could have massive implications for both sides.
What to watch for...
Connor Cape, Radio Play-by-Play Announcer
You knew it had to end sometime. On Independence Day, the Rapids' seven game unbeaten streak was snapped after multiple weather delays and two goals from the Revolution. Nobody expected the team to go unbeaten through the rest of the regular season, so what matters now is the response.
The most important thing for the Burgundy Boys is to get back on the horse in Portland. A result in revamped Providence Park would eliminate the sting of the last loss and kickstart the next streak. Confidence is fickle but any team that escapes PDX with a point or three will have it in spades.