Hi I am Scott Kelly and happy thanksgiving to everybody. I am here for you reporting on some MLS action, with Colorado Rapids hosting the Portland Timbers at Dick Sporting Good’s Park.
Robin Fraser’s Rapids topped the Western Conference after the regular season as Portland Timbers finished fourth, winning their final four league games. That all counts for nothing now as we are now at the play off stage, with extra time and even penalties needed in this game if the scores are level after 90 minutes. The sides met at the same arena just last month, which the Rapids won 2-0 courtesy of goals from Dominique Badji and forward Diego Rubio. It was a 2-2 draw in Portland. Both teams are three victories from MLS glory and will play the winners of Sunday’s Quarter Final between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake.
The Timbers, managed by Giovanni Saverese, had to overcome Minnesota United in their first knockout game 3-1 after falling behind early on. Colorado Rapids have had an 18 day break since their last game.Embed from Getty Images
Lovely sunshine here in Denver. The home side in their usual claret and white and the Timbers in their white away strip with green shorts. The first ever MLS game on Thanksgiving day and the first MLS Cup game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park since 2016 is under way.
Easy, confidence building save from Timbers ‘keeper Steve Clark as Cole Bassett turns on the ball in the area for the Rapids and Clark easily saves.
First glimpse of Dominique Badji’s pace as he runs down the byline and he wins the Rapids a corner. The resulting corner from Jack Price is brilliant and Austin Trusty is unmarked and his header is inches wide. A very bright start from Colorado Rapids here.
A chance for Kellyn Acosta for the Rapids. He is given the ball on the left by Mark-Anthony Kaye, he turns inside onto his right but his shot is wayward and goes over the crossbar.
First effort on target and its for the Rapids. Another dangerous Jack Price corner is met by the head of Badji, and Clark does well to smother the ball. The Rapids all over the Timbers at the moment. Although it is worth remembering the Timbers were behind by this point on Saturday and came back fantastically to win.
A rather flamboyant fall to the floor from Badji as a Jack Price free kick causes a bit of chaos and the ball was headed into Badji by Trusty. VAR could well be checking this...
It appears VAR did not look at the penalty appeal. We play on with a Portland Timbers throw in. The throw in leads to an attack for the visitors as an ambitious effort from Colombian Dairon Asprilla goes well wide and doesn’t trouble goalkeeper William Yarborough.
An effort from Keegan Rosenberry with the Rapids right wing back firing just over. Steve Clark dives as he isn’t well positioned. He will be relieved with the outcome.
Colorado Rapids are knocking on the door here. Acosta giving Bassett the ball, he runs into the area past a couple of defenders and his shot is straight at Steve Clark. Best chance of the game so far.
The Timbers win two consecutive corners, met with jeers by the Colorado faithful. Both were poor despite having a huge physical presence of the likes of Dario Zuparic to aim for. The ball goes all the way out for a Rapids throw in.
Senegalese forward Badji has an attempt from a tight angle. It took a deflection and rolls out for a throw in on the far side. Much to his frustration he was flagged offside anyway when he received the pass from Kaye.
Chance for the Timbers and the first sighting of goal for Argentine wonder Sebastien Blanco. Good work from Asprilla down the right who feeds Blanco about 40 yards from goal. His attempt isn’t too far away but Yarborough sees it go just over the crossbar.
Sensational save from Steve Clark as a cross from Kellyn Acosta for the Rapids is full of pace, Badji connects with it and Clark saves. Either side of the Timbers stopper and you feel it is 1-0 for sure.
45 – PORTLAND TIMBERS YELLOW CARD. We have the first yellow card of the game and it goes to Dario Zuparic of Portland Timbers, who fouls Kaye and then Lalas Abubakar in quick succession. He seemed to argue with referee Ted Unkel about the incident and this must have further encouraged the referee to get the card out.
ONE minute of stoppage time will be added on at the end of the first half.
HALF TIME: COLORADO RAPIDS 0-0 PORTLAND TIMBERS
We are back underway for the second half here. Could be an interesting 45 minutes with Portland Timbers being very underwhelming in the first half, and talisman Blanco being mostly non existent. Extra time and penalties may be needed don’t forget. The substitutions in this second half could help sway the game you feel.
First shot in the second half. Claudio Bravo is tackled but wins the ball back quickly and launches the ball forward. Blanco gets half a yard on Abubakar and his shot is tamely struck at Yarborough. He seems to have picked up an injury, clutching his hamstring, which is a huge blow for the Timbers. Santiago Moreno looks like he is ready to take his place.
Very cagey start to this second half with Blanco’s shot the only chance of any note. The Timbers will be more happy with this start, getting into a bit of rhythm. More importantly, they are keeping the ball which must be frustrating the likes of Acosta and Badji who were so prominent in the first half.
58 – VAR CHECK FOR POSSIBLE PENALTY
A penalty appeal is to be checked by VAR as Mark-Anthony Kaye is brought down in the area by full back Jose Carlos Van Rankin.
59- NO PENALTY
The appeal is quickly dismissed. It was a clumsy challenge but it appears the initial contact was just outside the area anyway.
A huge opportunity for the Timbers. A corner was put in by Chara. There was a bit of a scramble in the area, with a couple of block shots. One of which from Yimmy Chara, who’s shot hits Jaroslaw Niezgoda. He has his back to goal, squares the ball to Van Rankin and his thunderbolt is saved brilliantly on the goal line by the Rapids Danny Wilson. Best chance of the game for the Timbers by far and they are unlucky not to be in front.
This game has swayed in favour of the away side now with 61% second half possession. They’ve managed the game brilliantly in the second period and they have done well to keep the likes of Badji quiet. Heading to extra time as it stands.
A really slick passing move from the Rapids. Austin Trusty with an eye of a needle pass to Kaye who pulls it back to Cole Bassett and his effort is blocked by the Timbers defence.
The Timbers launch the ball forward after a Colorado Rapids attack. Chara received the ball on the right, its chested into the path of substitute Felipe Mora but he is too slow to react and loses his footing and it is cleared by Danny Wilson.
Braian Alejandro Galvan is on for Kaye for the third substitution for the Colorado Rapids.
Big chance again as the Timbers are on the counter attack. Diego Chara gets the ball on the right, he puts the ball in but its agonisingly missed by Yimmi Chara and goes for a goal kick.
Both sides resigning themselves to extra time it seems just as a Yimmy Chara’s cross is to close to the far post for Yarborough’s liking. He tips the ball behind for a corner.
GOAL! – Colorado Rapids 0-1 PORTLAND TIMBERS.
90 – GOAL FOR PORTLAND TIMBERS Unbelievable end to this game and its heartbreak for the Colorado Rapids who have controlled this game for the majority. A corner is put in, it causes chaos as it was deflected off Acosta and two Rapids defenders fail to clear, but centre back Larrys Mabala is sandwiched between them and he gets his foot to it and he beats Yarborough as it is powered into the roof of the net.
There will be four minutes of stoppage time.
90+4 RED CARD FOR PORTLAND TIMBERS Dairon Asprilla is dismissed and there was no hesitation from referee Ted Unkel. There was a VAR check for this but the red card stands. It appears he attempts to elbow and then strike Galvan in the face. An astonishing end to this game here.
During all of this, Marvin Loria and George Fochive entered the pitch and are on for Yimmy Chara and Cristhian Paredes for the Timbers.
Colorado still launching the ball forward in the hope of a late equaliser. You have to feel for them but they have one last role of the dice as they win a throw in deep in the Portland Timbers half.
FULL TIME: Colorado Rapids 0-1 Portland Timbers. A Fifth win in a row for Portland Timbers. They grabbed the win at the death which was overshadowed by an injury to Sebastien Blanco and a red card for Dairon Asprilla. Heartbreak for Colorado Rapids who will surely have an inquest as to how they have lost that game so close to extra time. The Timbers go onto the semi finals, the Western Conference final, to play either Sporting Kansas City or Real Salt Lake. The Rapids we will see next season.