Portland Timbers 4, Colorado Rapids 1 | MLS Match Recap
PORTLAND, Ore.—The Portland Timbers’ up-and-down regular season has ended on a big-time – and decisive – up.
The Timbers are headed to the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs on a brace from Darlington Nagbe, and insurance goals from Jorge Villafana and Fanendo Adi, in a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids on a rain-soaked Sunday evening at Providence Park. It gives the Timbers three straight wins, their second longest winning streak of the season, to finish the season. It also bumps them all the way up to third place in the Western Conference with 53 points from 34 games.
Just three weeks ago, the Timbers were sitting outside the postseason picture all together after a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City. Tonight's result means Portland will host a Knockout Round match against No. 6 SKC on Thursday (10pm ET | UniMás, TSN1/4/5).
Meanwhile, the season comes to an end for the Rapids – whose only goal on the night came from Dominique Badji, in the 13th minute. They finish at the basement of the West, where they were when the day started.
Portland nearly opened the scoring in the second minute when Adi got on the end of a ball pinging around the Colorado box, but his header was pushed just wide by goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
Three minutes later, MacMath could do nothing to prevent Nagbe’s perfectly curled free kick, from about 25 yards out, for the opening goal.
Colorado took advantage of a Portland malaise following the goal to equalize with one of their own. After a nice build-up, Badji got free at the top of the box for a right-footed blast that deflected off Timbers center back Liam Ridgewell to throw off ‘keeper Adam Kwarasey, allowing it to bounce cleanly into the back of the net.
But Portland regained the lead in the 33rd minute when Lucas Melano sent in a well-placed cross to Nagbe, who skillfully redirected it off his head, past the outstretched MacMath and inside the far post for his third goal in the last two games.
Portland’s insurance goal came in the 63rd minute when Villafana sent a sizzling shot from the left wing that deflected off a Rapids defender and in. It was originally ruled an own goal but later changed.
Second-half substitute Dairon Asprilla nearly scored the Timbers’ fourth when he unleashed a right-footed shot from distance in the 73rd minute, one that MacMath was able to get enough of a touch on to direct it off the far post and out.
Asprilla did chip in on the fourth goal, fifteen minutes later, crossing to Adi in front of goal for an easy chest-in – his third goal in the last two outings (and fourth in three / sixth in five).
It all marked a dominant Timbers performance in which they locked up their second-ever MLS playoff appearance, both coming in the last three years, under the leadership of head coach Caleb Porter.