After Sunday's 2-0 loss to Seattle, the Timbers need to win a majority of their fifteen games left in order to keep playoff hopes alive--starting with Friday's match against the Colorado Rapids.
"We have to move on [from Sunday's loss]," Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. "Right now recovery is key. We had a very long week and gave a lot physically and emotionally, but we have to recover and get back to work and get ready for Colorado. That game is going to be very critical."
The Timbers are four points behind fifth-place Vancouver for the final MLS playoff spot and six points behind the Rapids, who are in third place in the Western Conference.
Portland has only faced Colorado one time this season, losing to the Rapids 2-0 back in late March.
However, the final score did not accurately depict play for the majority of the game. Both teams rallied back and forth for possession until the Rapids' Vicente Sanchez scored the first goal of the match in the 73rd minute. Then, two minutes later, Timbers goalkeeper Andrew Weber collided with Sanchez, giving Deshorn Brown the opportunity to score a penalty kick for Colorado.
The Timbers have the advantage this time around for three reasons:
1. With the mentality that every game is a key win, the Timbers are sure to come out with a greater intensity than they've played with in any other game so far this season. Plus, coming off a loss against their Cascade rivals, the Timbers have a fresh sense of defeat in their minds, and will pull out all the stops to ensure that they do not feel that again any time soon.
2. They have the home field advantage. Last time around, the Timbers were subject to the negative cheers of the Centennial 38 fans at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. But this time around, they have the Timbers Army to support their play on the pitch and the ability to be constantly motivated by the energy of the crowd around them. Not to mention, they can relish in the fact that Colorado will be forced to deal with the intimidation and distraction of the dedicated fans of Providence Park.
3. The weather is on their side. In their last match against the Rapids, Portland had to deal with playing in the snow, a climate that they have rarely played in together as a team. Stepping onto the pitch in the Portland summer heat will be an environment that the Timbers are used to.
A win this Friday would help the Timbers up their home game play reputation. Portland is one of three teams in the league to have only won one home game all season, considering that they are 1-2-7 at home.
Not only would this win put them in better position toward playoff potential, but it would also put them back in the good graces of Portland fans, who are ready to see their team win at home again.