The Colorado Rapids faced an uphill battle Friday night when they took on the Portland Timbers. The Rapids were missing Vicente Sanchez, Shane O'Neill, Edson Buddle, and Nick Labrocca. Missing these players would force the Rapids to move back to the 4-2-3-1 formation and hope that some of the young guns would step up and make an impact.
Both teams came out of the gate running, and in the 16th minute Deshorn Brown found himself in a scrum on a corner kick. Drew Moor initially headed the ball down toward Donovan Rickets' net, and Brown would follow up the rebound and keep the pressure on until it went across the line. That was Brown's seventh goal of the season tying him for the club lead with Vicente Sanchez.
Just a couple minutes later Brown would go down with an apparent groin injury, forcing the Rapids to bring in Danny Mwanga. Mwanga has been, at best, invisible in his time with the Rapids, scoring no goals and tallying no assists.
Portland would start to take over after the Rapids goal. Colorado seemed content to sit on the one goal lead going into half and just play a counter attack style, which was not that bad of an idea, especially considering the Rapids have been lucky to come out of their last two games with a point in each.
Newly acquired Carlos Alvarez started to make an impact in the final 10 minutes of the half. Alvarez was able to find open spots on the left side and connect with Mwanga and Dillon Serna on multiple occasions. Colorado would need to find the guy who can step up in the second half. Whether that would be one of the players already on the field, or possibly Gabriel Torres or Kamani Hill, Colorado would need someone to step up.
The second half would start with no changes to either side. Colorado seemed to be playing with more urgency but were unable to connect with anything really dangerous. Defensively Colorado started to show some cracks that Portland tried to take advantage of early in the half.
Gabby Torres would find his way on to the pitch when Marlon Hairston went down for the send time in the game. Torres saw his most minutes since early in the season.
Portland would tie the game in the 72nd minute when they would finally take advantage of the holes that Colorado had been leaving them asll night. Maxi Urruti would find himself in front of Drew Moor and was able to redirect the cross from Jack Jewsbury past a diving Clint Irwin.
Diego Valeri would give Portland the lead just minutes later with a strike from 25 yards away where no one could get it. Valeri took in a pass and blasted the ball into the upper right corner of the net. Colorado had been sitting back defensively prior to the two Timbers goals and when Valeri gets as much as as he did on that play, he is going to make something happen.
Portland would settle in after going ahead and Colorado would not be able to put anything dangerous together. The loss of Deshorn Brown and Marlon Hairston hurt Colorado. The Rapids will be getting some much needed home "cooking" next Friday when they face the hottest team in MLS, Chivas USA. But knowing that, that will do little to quell the the lackluster performance against Portland.