By MIKE DONOVAN
The Portland Timbers saw their hopes of a road result disappear as the Colorado Rapids scored twice in a three-minute span to beat their Western Conference foe on a cold, snowy Saturday afternoon.
Vicente Sanchez and Deshorn Brown scored the goals, while Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was sent off as Colorado defeated Portland, 2-0, in front of 15,135 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
After 72 minutes of action, the match turned when Deshorn Brown was taken down by his fellow Jamaican Ricketts after getting behind the Timbers defense. Ricketts was stretchered off the field, while backup Andrew Weber came on as a sub for Diego Valeri.
In his first action as a Timber, Weber guessed incorrectly as Sanchez blasted his spot-kick home. It was the second consecutive match that Sanchez has scored on a penalty kick.
Less than a minute after the first penalty, Weber took down Sanchez in the box and referee Mark Geiger, again, pointed to the spot. This time, Brown took the kick, which was saved by a diving Weber. However, Brown pounced on the rebound and gave Colorado its final margin.
While possession remained fairly even throughout the match, it was the Rapids who had the majority of good chances with seven shots on target and forcing Ricketts into multiple diving saves.
On the one-year anniversary of the “SnowClassico” match between the U.S. and Costa Rica at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the snow was a major talking point pre-match, but it failed to accumulate during the game. The wind, however, did seem to have some effect as numerous clearances and long-balls seemed to get held up by Mother Nature.
Brown was a constant threat for Colorado and used his speed to get around Timbers defenders. He forced Ricketts into two saves in the first five minutes of the match, which set the tone for what was to come.
Colorado’s Jose Mari received a second yellow in the 90th minute, but it was too little, too late for the Timbers. Will Johnson’s attempted Olympico corner kick almost provided some consolation for Portland, but John Berner saved the ball onto the crossbar. Berner had three saves on the afternoon, but only one in the first 90 minutes of play. In fact, Portland had a 78-minute span without a shot on target.
Portland will head on the road again next week to take on FC Dallas, while the Rapids will host defending MLS Cup Champion, Sporting Kansas City.
Here are the match highlights: