For the first time in MLS history, there will be a match played on Thanksgiving Day as the Colorado Rapids host the Portland Timbers at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Portland ousted Minnesota United in a 3-1 win on Sunday night to advance to the conference semifinals and play first-seed Colorado.
The season series between these two teams favored the Rapids, with a dramatic 2-2 draw in Portland in September and the Rapids beating Portland 2-0 in October — a win that clinched them a playoff spot.
The 2-2 draw in September was one of the more frustrating matches of the season for the Rapids, as they were up a man for the whole second half after a Bill Tuiloma red card, yet didn’t break a 1-1 score until a ridiculous shot by Michael Barrios from the touchline somehow looped over Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark in the 87th minute. Colorado couldn’t defend the lead, though, and conceded a stoppage time equalizer. This match was the second of four straight draws.
The second meeting between these two sides was much more positive for the Burgundy Boys, with Dominique Badji and Diego Rubio both heading home crosses en route to a win that clinched the Rapids a second straight playoff berth.
The second time these teams met, the Timbers were without star Argentinian Sebastian Blanco, who scored two sensational goals against Minnesota Sunday evening to ensure Portland would move on. Could Blanco make the difference for Portland in Commerce City? He will have to be on his game, as the Timbers haven’t won at DSGP since 2018.
And for the Rapids, a team who haven’t won a playoff match since 2016, will the moment prove to be too much for the young team?
Captain Jack Price certainly doesn’t think so, as he told the Burgundy Wave, “The whole squad, 25-plus players, we all believe we can win something this year.”
For Price and the Rapids, they will look to prove the doubters wrong yet again, as they begin their journey to MLS Cup on Thursday in front of a festive DSGP crowd.