The Colorado Rapids went into Providence Park and dropped three points to the Portland Timbers 1-0. It was a tail of two halves as the Rapids were on defense most of the first half and carried most of the possession in the second half.
The Rapids defended quite well and could not get much possession in the first half. Early in the half, Caleb Calvert had a good chance at scoring but did not find the net. Otherwise it was all Timbers.
The scoring opened up in the 35' when Fanendo Adi converted a penalty kick. This was a controversial call as Bobby Burling slid in the box and got all ball in a 50-50 challenge with Vytautas Andriuskevicius. Vytautas went down and the referee awarded a penalty kick.
The second penalty a little bit later was a no brainer. There was some miscommunication in the box between Watts and Azira. Watts looked to play the ball back to Azira who just stared at it. This allowed Vytautas to get the ball and be past Azira and Watts. Azira pulled his jersey and he went down. Clear penalty.
However, Tim Howard came up big saving the penalty shot from Adi who then put the rebound wide of the goal. It was a horrendous shot. Mercifully the first half ended.
The second half was bright for the Rapids and they were unlucky to not find the back of the net. Their push in the second half gave them a lead in possession with 53.1%. Howard only had to make one tough save in this half and Kevin Doyle had two great opportunities, one off the cross bar and the other off the post. Jake Gleeson had a couple big saves also.
With the FC Dallas comeback win against the Seattle Sounders the Rapids are now two points behind Dallas in the Supporters Shield race.
There was a lot of discussion on the new lineup in this match. A third match in eight days and you will have to rotate your squad. Some the lack of playing time showed for some of the players. It should be noted, this squad did not give up a goal from the run of play, it took the Timbers getting a questionable penalty kick to get a goal.
Here is how I saw the match.
Tim Howard - 8 (8.18): Howard had the big save on the second penalty kick by Adi and then in the second half he had a big save on Darren Mattocks' shot. A good match for Howard whose experience and skill helped the Rapids. Did well to break the ankles of Adi in the first half.
Mekeil Williams - 4 (5.59): A horrible display by Williams who showed that he had not seen much time lately. He had too many turnovers and give always.
Jared Watts - 6 (5.94): Overall it was not bad. He played well defensively and dealt well with the size and strength of Adi.
Bobby Burling - 6 (5.53): After being out for several weeks, Burling looked decent and with some playing time can only get better. Was a tough decision on the foul in the box that led to the pk for Adi.
Eric Miller - 8 (6.88): He had one of the better games that he has had this season. Was well defensively and made some good tackles. He also put in some good service.
Micheal Azira - 5 (5.06): All I said on the foul is, "What was Azira thinking?" There was no need for that foul in that situation. I think Howard was telling him the same thing. Otherwise he had a good match.
Sam Cronin - 7 (6.47): Cronin had some good legs after missing Thursday's match due to suspension. He was unlucky not to score as Gleeson made a good save on his shot.
Shkelzen Gashi - 5 (6.06): Gashi did not have a good game again. I don't know if it was the turf, but it was not good. He had a wide open net early in the match and missed. Did not help the Rapids keep possession in the first half and relieve the pressure.
Kevin Doyle - 7 (6.88): Doyle continued the good run that he had when he scored twice against SJ. Had a header off the crossbar and beat Gleeson with a shot that went off the post.
Marco Pappa - 6 (5.18): Pappa got a good shot off in the first half that challenged Gleeson. He also actually played defense. Could have done better with possession in the first half. Nice spot start.
Caleb Calvert - 6 (5.24): Calvert gets his first MLS start and did not disappoint. He was pulled down in the box by his jersey and does not get the call. He did well in his battle with Liam Ridgewell. He was quite active and I look forward to seeing him in a Rapids kit for a long-time.
Dominique Badji - 6 (5.88): His speed on top caused problems for the Timbers. Badji is in a good position right now and will be helpful for the Rapids in the playoffs.
That is how I saw the match. What do you think?