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  • Richard Fleming

Facts And Stats: Everything You Need To Know For #COLvPOR

When the Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers take to the field on Thursday afternoon, in the first of the Western Conference Semifinals, it will be the Rapids’ 41st postseason game in club history, against their 11th different opponent.

Previous opponents include Kansas City Wiz (also met them as Kansas City Wizards and Sporting Kansas City), Dallas Burn (also FC Dallas), D.C. United, Chicago Fire, LA Galaxy, Houston Dynamo, Columbus Crew, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders, and Minnesota United.

It is 10 years since the Portland Timbers entered Major League Soccer. The first game of their inaugural season was at Colorado. Their first head coach was Rapids legend, John Spencer.

The head-to-head history with the Timbers is 9-10-6. The Rapids are 7-2-4 at home all-time.

Colorado claimed four of the first five meetings, starting with Portland’s first-ever MLS game (3/19/11). They have been restricted to five wins in the 20 games since.

The Rapids’ 1-0 win in Portland last November was only their second win and second shutout in Oregon. The first was on their first-ever visit, June 11, 2011 - and came courtesy of a stoppage-time goal from Drew Moor (pictured).

Victory last November was Colorado’s first over the Timbers in six attempts, stretching back to June 17, 2017. With the 2-0 home victory toward the end of October, the Rapids are now unbeaten in the last five games (2-0-3).

Respective head coaches Robin Fraser and Giovanni Savarese have a history which stretches back to 1996, and the very first game for LA Galaxy and the MetroStars. Savarese scored for the MetroStars, a consolation in a 2-1 win for Fraser and the Galaxy at The Rose Bowl, Pasadena on April 13, 1996.

Saverese also has a history with the Rapids. He scored all three goals for the MetroStars in a 3-0 home win over the Rapids on May 16, 1996. He became the second player in MLS history to score a hat-trick, just one day after Steve Rammell had become the first, with three for D.C. United against Columbus Crew!

With their 2-0 home win over Portland on October 23, the Rapids booked their place in the postseason. It was the first time they had made the playoffs in successive seasons since the 2010-11 campaigns.

Portland’s 56 goals were shared around 13 different players. The Rapids’ 51 goals came from 18 different sources.

Two Portland players reached double digit goals in the regular season, Felipe Mora (11), and Dairon Asprilla, who had a career-high 10. He had never previously managed more than two goals in a season and scored a total of just seven in his previous six years at the Timbers.

The Rapids’ top scorer was Michael Barrios (8), followed by Jonathan Lewis with a career-high seven goals.

No Portland player got anywhere near Jack Price’s dozen in the assists category, though they did have two finish on seven - Sebastian Blanco and Yimmi Chara.

The Rapids called upon two goalkeepers in 2021. William Yarbrough played 33 of the 34 games, with Clint Irwin stepping in at Seattle on October 3.

Five different ‘keepers pulled on the gloves for Portland in the regular season. Steve Clark played the most games, with 24 appearances.

And while Yarbrough excelled for a club record 13 clean sheets, the Timbers’ five goalies combined for nine shutouts - Clark had seven of them.

The Rapids ended the regular season with an 9-1-7 home record. Their only loss at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park came in the home opener, a shock 3-1 reversal at the hands of new boys Austin FC on April 24.

Portland’s road record in the regular season was 6-9-2. Among those away wins were victories at LAFC, Seattle, and at altitude in Sandy, Utah.

The Rapids went on a 12-game unbeaten run during the season. Portland finished the season with a 10-3-1 record. That run included a 2-2 tie at home to the Rapids, when playing with 10 men for the entire second half, plus the 2-0 loss in Colorado. The draw with the Rapids was the only blip in an eight-game unbeaten stretch (7-0-1).

The famous quote suggests history is written by the victors. Thursday’s meeting will determine which team gets to pen the next chapter, and which writes the final passage in their 2021 season.

About the author: Since 2013, Richard Fleming has been the TV commentator and host, covering the Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer. During 16 years with the BBC, he covered two FIFA World Cups, five Africa Cup of Nations, a FIFA Confederations Cup, and a European Championship. He has also covered UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, and football at all levels of the game during more than 30 years covering the sport.

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