[MLS WEEK 30: Friday Rewind] The tightly bunched teams in the Western Conference moved around again Friday night and now it's Colorado that is trapped in a wild-card spot.
Diego Valeri’s early goal held up the rest of the way as Portland (11-5-13, 46 pts.) replaced Colorado (12-9-9, 45 pts.) in third place by beating the Rapids, 1-0, at Jeld-Wen Field. The vast majority of the 20,674 fans in attendance roared mightily as Valeri’s clever chip, set up by Rodney Wallace’s headed interception of a poor clearance, floated over Rapids keeper Clint Irwin and into the net.
Colorado forced its way back into the game and finished with a 13-9 edge in shots and 9-3 advantage in corner kicks but could only put one shot on goal, an Atiba Harris effort that was saved by Donovan Ricketts. Edson Buddle smashed a shot off the base of the post as a debated offside flag went up, and in the final minutes Dillon Powers fired a shot that was deflected narrowly wide.
Recently acquired midfielder Vicente Sanchez was a late scratch because of injury and in a rejiggered Rapids lineup Martin Rivero and Nick LaBrocca were deployed. LaBrocca brought some energy but Rivero wasn’t effective, and both were eventually substituted.
Colorado takes a bye from league play next week and by the time it hosts Seattle Oct. 5, it could be out of the playoff tier entirely. Portland hosts the Galaxy a week from Sunday in yet another episode of the wild, wild West.
Portland Timbers 1, Colorado Rapids 0
POR: Diego Valeri (Rodney Wallace) 13.
Referee: Hilario Grajeda.