My biggest takeaway from this game? I’ll take Altitude over ESPN any. day.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, on to the recap.
Pablo decided to give some of the regular starters a break, putting in Caleb Calvert, Marco Pappa, and Mekeil Williams. Bobby Burling was also back in today. It was a cold (50-something degrees) and rainy afternoon. There was definitely some slipping and sliding around on the wet turf.
The Portland Timbers had 60% possession in the first half, and somehow got an astounding 14 fouls called on the Colorado Rapids (including three yellow cards on Calvert, Burling, and Williams, respectively). Of those fouls, the Timbers earned two penalty kicks. The first, in the 33rd minute, was due to a tackle from Burling. Some of us thought it was all ball, and he tucked his top leg to avoid scissoring Vytas, but the referee did not agree. Fanendo Adi took the PK. Howard dives to his right, Adi kicks the ball to Howard’s left. Portland was up 1-0.
Just a few minutes later, Jared Watts and Michael Azira got beat in the box and Azira pulled Vytas down for ANOTHER penalty kick. Adi took it again. Howard dove to the same side, and this time Adi shoots it to that side. TIM HOWARD COMES UP BIG WITH THE SAVE, and the rebound shot goes wide! Portland kept up the pressure, but at halftime, it was still just 1-0.
Neither side made any subs to start the second half, and the Rapids came out as a completely different team. A quick look at the possession chart says it all.
Early in, Marco Pappa sent a peach of a pass into the box to Kevin Doyle, but he sadly headed it into the crossbar. One minute later, Darren Mattocks dribbled in way farther than he should have been able to. Instead of passing it to a wide open Darlington Nagbe, he took a shot, and Tim Howard saved it (thanks again, Timmy!).
In the 69th minute, Pablo figured it was time to make something happen, so he subbed Dominique Badji in for Calvert. Almost immediately, Badji gets the ball, but Doyle got taken out just past midfield, so there was no one to pass it to. He tried to stall, but ended up whiffing, then fouled the defender who took the ball.
Captain Sam Cronin blasted a shot at Jake Gleeson in the 76th (ish) minute, and the Rapids kept coming. Doyle got fouled about 25-30 yards out and Shkëlzen Gashi took the kick. The ball bounced around but was cleared. It was a great opportunity for the Burgundy Boys. 86th minute, Doyle had a nice turn, beat Gleeson, and hit the post. Whhhhhyyyyyyy????
It’s announced that there will be five minutes of stoppage time, and then two more minutes are added after some time wasting. Somehow Portland manages to hang on, and the game ends 1-0, giving Colorado a sixth loss for the season.
And you know what? I’m not even mad. Well, I’m a little mad. The first PK shouldn’t have happened. We had some great opportunities that didn’t work out. The Supporters’ Shield slipped a little further away. Pablo left two subs on the bench. And yeah, a loss sucks.
But do you realize what this means? Half our bench went up against Portland’s starting XI and actually played really well (for the second half at least). Our bench is deep. The Rapids have one more game left with the opportunity to end the season UNBEATEN at home, while FC Dallas has to go play in LA (though LA has a playoff game four days after Dallas, so who knows).
All that said, I still think (hope?) it was worth it to rest some players.
We also clinched a CONCACAF Champions League spot, thanks to NYCFC.
How do you feel about the result?