I said before the match that Colorado had a chance to make a heck of a statement with this game against the Portland Timbers, either losing to the expansion club and making everyone think 'Well, we were probably right on these guys' or coming out and looking like the team that defeated Columbus, San Jose and FC Dallas in the playoffs last year. Well much to the delight of Rapids fans everywhere it was the latter, and BOY was it the latter! The final was 3-1 but the game was played in a way that could easily have been worse.
In front of a healthy looking crowd at Dick's Sporting Goods Park including a large gang of Timbers supporters, the carnage started early with a bang as Jeff Larentowicz collected a clean rebound off of Adin Brown and shoveled it into the top corner in the 8th minute of play. Portland had not looked great on the pitch before the goal but they never quite recovered from the early shock of Jeff's blast. Omar Cummings had his own great goal twenty minutes later as he flicked down his own rebound from a deflected shot and slid it neatly into the bottom corner.
The best goal of the night came only a minute later. Jamie Smith collected a turnover from the Portland midfield and unleashed the dragon on a shot from 30 yards out that really can only be described in two ways. The first one is "sheer brilliance". The second is "HOLY #^$&, DID YOU SEE THAT?!!". It was a perfectly placed rocket right under the crossbar, shades of Omar Cummings' goal against the New York Red Bulls last season. If the Timbers spirits weren't broken before, that was the goal that did it. The game went into halftime 3-0.
After the break the Rapids came out playing very conservatively to hold their lead, only taking what the Timbers were giving them in terms of attacking and playing a lot of their famous possession ball to keep the clock rolling down. Kenny Cooper managed to score on the Rapids in the 80th minute after Quincy Amarikwa and Sanna Nyassi had been subbed into the game, but it was far too late by that point. Nyassi almost answered right back and was only a Brown save away from making it 4-1 with a bullet from point blank range.
A hell of a start to the season for the defending champs, and one that might turn some heads. The next two games are against Chivas USA and DC United, so we'll see how this team continues to handle some of the weaker teams in the league. Either way, there's very little to complain about after that one.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Omar Cummings has to get this by default with what turned out to be the GWG as well as an assist, plus his fourth straight season opening goal, but honorable mention has to go to Jamie Smith for having his best game ever as a Rapid. Fantastic work, Smith!
GOAT OF THE MATCH: Man, even Amarikwa looked good today, I'm at a loss for this.