Timbers in need of road win if they want to make playoffs

Portland has done well against Colorado recently

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter

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The Portland Timbers travel to Colorado on Saturday with their odds of qualifying for the MLS Cup playoffs shrinking.

The Timbers, who have not won a league road match this season, likely need to win either Saturday at Colorado or on the final day of the season at Vancouver — and might need to win both — for the opportunity to defend their MLS Cup championship.

Portland’s playoff chances took a hit this week thanks to the surging Seattle Sounders.

With recent wins at Los Angeles and at home over Chicago, the Sounders knocked the Timbers below the playoff cutoff line. The teams are tied with 41 points, but Seattle has one more win plus a game in hand.

The Timbers on Tuesday did win away from Providence Park for the first time this season when they rallied for a 2-1 win at El Salvador’s CD Dragon in CONCACAF Champions League play.

And Portland is unbeaten in its last five matches against Colorado (3-0-2), including a scoreless draw on July 4 at Colorado.

But, as has been the case all season long, injuries are thinning the Timbers roster. Darron Mattocks is out two or more weeks with another hamstring injury. Lucas Melano (groin) and Vytas Andriuskevicius (ribs) both missed the trip to Houston and Dragon and their status is uncertain.

After this visit to Colorado, the Timbers host the Rapids on Oct. 16 before closing the regular season on Oct. 23 at Vancouver.

Seattle’s four remaining matches are at Vancouver, home against last-place Houston, at first-place FC Dallas and home against Real Salt Lake.

Sporting Kansas City (two points ahead of Portland) or Real Salt Lake (four points ahead of Portland) are within reach mathematically. SKC finishes with matches at New England, at Real Salt Lake and at home against fading San Jose. RSL plays at San Jose in addition to hosting Kansas City and visiting Seattle.