Portand Needs Three Points From Colorado Roadtrip

Every result is crucial in the battle for the Western Conference’s fifth and final playoff spot. Tonight’s match in Commerce City between the Portland Timbers and Colorado Rapids is no different. The Vancouver Whitecaps currently hold onto fifth place, ahead of Portland by just two points. Slightly further down the ranks is Colorado with 30 points, five less than the Timbers. Luckily for Portland, the Rapids are in a complete nose-dive to close the season, having lost their seven straight matches. Ouch. With glaring injuries in the back and Portland’s attack clicking, I don’t see points going Colorado’s way.

The loss of Drew Moor and Shane O’Neill has absolutely gutted the Rapids. Couple this with Gabriel Torres out on international duty and Portland is in a good spot to get a win.

While Colorado’s defense is in shambles, it’s worth noting that the Timbers have never won at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and tied just once. At the same time though, Portland is Real Salt Lakes only home loss of 2014. It’s primetime for Caleb Porter to break this record.

I’m expecting a fairly similar starting lineup as last week against San Jose. The main differences being Paparatto and Wallace coming in for Kah and Fernandez. I think Adi gets the start with Colorado’s center backs out of commission. Then bring on Maxi in the 60th to burn the replacements with speed. Jorge and Alvas deserve to continue starting as well. Powell is young and shouldn’t be bothered by playing for Jamaica on Tuesday, plus his two goals in two games speak volumes.

Projected Lineups:

Portland Timbers: Donovan Ricketts; Jorge Villafana, Liam Ridgewell, Norberto Paparatto, Alvas Powell; Will Johnson, Diego Chara; Rodney Wallace, Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe; Fanendo Adi

Colorado Rapids: Clint Irwin; Marc Burch, Marvell Wynne, Thomas Piermayer, Chris Klute; Dillon Serna, Nick LaBrocca, Marlon Hairston, Dillon Powers; Deshorn Brown, Edson Buddle

(image courtesy of Betony Meszaros)