Colorado at Timbers
Kickoff: 8 p.m. today at Providence Park.
TV: NBCSN, cable channel 32.
Radio: AM 750
Timbers (4-6-9, 21 points): The Timbers hope that a home game and improved health can help in a game they need to win. Portland’s 21 points are only six back of third-place Colorado (and five behind Vancouver in fifth place), but many of the teams the Timbers are chasing have played fewer games. Matches against teams they are battling for playoff spots — Colorado included — take on added significance.
Other than glaring defensive breakdowns, a key story of this Timbers season is their inability to win home games. Last season the Timbers had 11 wins, five draws and one loss in league home matches. This season they have only one win at home, with seven draws and two losses for only 10 points out of 10 league home matches. Timbers coach Caleb Porter noted that Portland has only lost three of 27 MLS home games since he arrived and said that his team hasn’t had a poor home performance this season.
Maximiliano Urruti, Norberto Paparatto and Ben Zemanski returned from injuries to training this week. Porter said Urruti and Paparatto are available for selection today. Zemanski and Pa Modou Kah are not available.
Also unknown is if new Designated Player Liam Ridgewell will make his Timbers debut after only one week of training since arriving from England.
“As soon as he’s ready to play he’s going to be in there, trust me. Because he gives us the best chance to win games,” Porter said.
“Mentally he’s ready to play. He wants to play. But he also understands that he needs to be physically ready to play and manage 90 minutes.”
Rapids (7-5-6, 27 points): In the first meeting this season against Portland, Colorado won 2-0 at home on March 22 with penalty kicks two minutes apart in the second half. The match was played in snow flurries. This time Colorado will be without top scorer Vicente Sanchez (who scored one goal and drew one of the fouls that led to a goal on March 22) and midfielder Shane O’Neill due to suspension. After struggling to score goals early in the season, the Colorado attack has improved with Deshorn Brown and Sanchez coming to life. The Rapids have eight shutouts through 18 matches, the big reason their are ahead of the Timbers (one shutout) in the standings.