COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – It was a short stay in the Western Conference cellar for the Colorado Rapids.
After dropping down to last place for the first time all season on Friday night, the Rapids moved out of the basement with a convincing 3-0 win over the Portland Timbers at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday night, riding goals from Andre Akpan, Tony Cascio and Jaime Castrillon to collect all three points.
The Timbers returned to last place in the West and saw their two-game win streak come to a close as well, while the Rapids won for the first time since a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake on August 4, snapping a four-game winless streak and keeping their slim playoff hopes alive.
It didn’t take long for the action to get the action going on a mild evening in suburban Denver. Tyrone Marshall’s first minute long ball found a streaking Cascio, who fired off the goalpost just 50 seconds after the opening whistle. But less than five minutes later, the Rapids got on the scoreboard.
Right back Drew Moor’s cross into the box was met by Cascio, who deflected it right into the path of Akpan. The third-year forward easily fired home for his first MLS goal of the season and the second of his career.
After Moor’s 21st-minute header was spectacularly saved by Timbers ‘keeper Donovan Ricketts, the Rapids doubled their advantage just a few minutes later. While breaking on a counterattack, Castrillon crossed for Cascio, whose sliding shot was initially saved by Ricketts, but after Cascio regained his footing, the rookie fired home for his third goal of the season.
The Rapids closed ranks in the second half, daring Portland to beat them for distance or on the break.
One of the few times it looked like the Timbers might strike paydirt, ‘keeper Matt Pickens was there to snuff it out. The veteran came off his line quickly in the 75th minute to deny Diego Chara on a breakaway, getting a toe to the shot to keep the zero on the board.
Colorado sealed the game on Castrillon’s 86th-minute close-range header, which went between Ricketts’ legs for the Colombian’s team-leading seventh goal of the season.
The Rapids will enjoy a nine-day break before battling the surging Galaxy in LA on Sept. 14, while the Timbers will also enjoy an extended break before hosting Cascadia Cup rivals Seattle on Sept. 15 at JELD-WEN Field.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Tony Cascio||It took 52 seconds for the livewire winger to show that it was going to be his night. Provided an assist on the first, and got the goal he deserved on the second.|
|2||Drew Moor||Two assists - one from the run of play, one on a set piece. Plus a brilliant decoy run on Cascio's goal, and rugged, heady defense all night|
|3||Jaime Castrillon||Castrillon's never the best player on the field, but when he's going well he quietlly makes everyone around him better. Tireless worker who has a knack for turning up in the right spots.|