Portland Timbers feel really good about 0-0 draw with key players missing

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Bruised and battered in the first half of the season, and again missing key players in Liam Ridgewell (knee) and Diego Valeri (contusion), the Portland Timbers entered a Fourth of July match faced with the tall task of taking points from a Colorado Rapids side which was unbeaten at home this season. By night’s end, Portland took solace in Monday night’s 0-0 draw, given the circumstances.

“We had two DPs out tonight,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said post-game. “For us to come on the road and make plays, play efficiently, organized and emotionally intelligent was really good.”

Attacking chances were limited for Portland in the first half, but the Timbers had two critical chances to spoil Howard’s coming out party. In the 25th minute, Fanendo Adi found himself in the penalty area with an open look at goal. Rapids defender Jared Watts appeared to take Adi down, but no foul was called.

“I haven’t watched it,” Porter said. “My owner thinks it was a PK, but he thinks everything is a PK. I thought it was close.”

Adi again threatened in the 43rd minute, but his shot hit the woodwork.

Despite the letdowns, the Timbers continued to grind away with chances. They hoped to make Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard as uncomfortable as possible in his debut, but the 37-year-old veteran came up with two big saves in the second half to keep the clean sheet.

In the 55th minute, Jamaican speedster Darren Mattocks had a clear run in on goal, but Howard came up big with a save on Mattock’s shot. Portland had another opportunity to take the lead in the 63rd minute, when Lucas Melano found himself in a one-on-one opportunity with Howard. The Rapids’ keeper again came up big with the leg save.

The missed opportunities were the most disappointing takeaway from the match, according to Porter.

“Obviously we’re disappointed not to get three points, given the chances,” he explained. “But it’s a good point on the road and keeps us at six games unbeaten. We’ve got a slow drip in points and we’re grinding. If we average two points per game the rest of the way, we’ll be in good shape.”