COMMERCE CITY, CO - SEPTEMBER 05: Andre Akpan put the hurt on the Portland Timbers, including this head-on-head confrontation with Hanyer Mosquera in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Well, that's more like it.
There's something about the Portland Timbers that, last Friday notwithstanding, brings out the best in the Colorado Rapids.
Los Rapidos delivered one of their best team efforts of the season Wednesday in dispatching the Timbers to their rightful place at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The Rapids lifted themselves out of the cellar and now have a sliver of a chance -- the very narrowest of windows -- to make the playoffs.
The game went the way it did because Colorado actually seized its early chances -- something we haven't seen much of this season. Andre Akpan got his second start of the season and made the most of it, scoring the opener. Can't say we really missed Conor Casey or Omar Cummings.
Kudos to Tony Cascio for bringing the early venom. After receiving a pinpoint long ball down the wing from Tyrone Marshall, the rookie shouldered off former Rapids defender Kosuke Kimura and would have blasted it by Donovan Ricketts if not for the near post.
Cascio remained a nuisance up front, notching the game's second goal in the 27th minute. With the offense punching in goals, the Rapids' defense and midfield took control and looked as good as they have all season.
Now if Colorado can keep that kind of execution and confidence going, the team just might salvage something out of this otherwise woeful season.
0 - Awful, horrible, why is he even on the field!?
1-3 - Poor. Why is he starting?
4-6 - Decent. Played a reasonable game, but could have done much more.
7-9 - Great game! Did nearly everything right with few mistakes
10 - Perfect game.
Matt Pickens — 6
Solid game by Pickens, who was never really tested all night. The few good opportunities the Timbers had, they sailed it over the crossbar.
Tyrone Marshall — 7
Quite possibly Marshall's best game of the season. His early long ball out of the back to Cascio was a beauty and he shut down the passing angles to Darlington Nagbe and Bright Dike all night.
Marvell Wynne —6.5
Wynne was also a beast all night in central defense. When the Rapids needed someone to track back quickly to cover a sprinting Timber, Wynne was in fine form.
Drew Moor — 7.5
Moor delivered a standout game, a couple clunker crosses into the box notwithstanding. He hit the cross that was deflected to the feet of Akpan for the first goal and assisted on Jaime Castrillon's late game-clincher.
Jeff Larentowicz — 6.5
Solid defensive midfielding by the Ginger Ninja as always. He helped break up numerous Timber forays at the top of the box, and the only thing that kept him from cracking a '7' were a couple long-range shots that lacked pace.
Hendry Thomas — 6
The newcomer continued to impress with his skill and calmness on the ball. Beat Portland players on some one-on-ones and then distributed smoothly. He's helping to breed greater confidence in the 'Pids much-maligned defensive corps.
Martin Rivero — 6.5
Smooth performance by the No. 10 who, with the addition of Hendry, will hopefully start charting a more offensive course. If Rivero can notch a bushel of assists down the stretch, the 'Pids just might have a playoff chance.
Jamie Castrillon — 6.5
More active than he's been of late and the snap header for the goal, his team-leading seventh, was top shelf.
Tony Cascio — 7
Probably Cascio's best overall game of the season. The rookie looked sharp from the start and when there was a chance on goal, he was often creating it or darting into the path of a ball served into the box.
Andre Akpan — 7
He's a forward. His job is to score goals. He did just that by one-timing a shot into the net in the 6th minute. Akpan's chance at the tip of the spear was long overdue and he made the most of it.
Kamani HIll (73) in for Rivero — 6
Had some nice runs and served the corner kick that went off Moor's head, then off Castrillon's head and into the net.
Brian Mullan (81) in for Cascio — 5.5
A decent shift, but nothing spectacular.
Shane O'Neill (86) in for Jeff Larentowicz — N/A