Major League Soccer

Timbers-Rapids Preview

Portland Timbers coach Gio Savarese has no doubt that the Colorado Rapids will share his team's confidence that they can go all the way in the MLS playoffs.

The Timbers overcame Minnesota United 3-1 in Round One and now face a trip to the top seed in the Western Conference, with the Rapids hosting Thursday's semi-final.

It will be the first ever MLS game played on Thanksgiving Day.

"We know it's going to be a tough game, a tough match. Colorado's done very well this season," Savarese said.

"They have a very good team, they have good selections in players and the entire staff has done a phenomenal job to be able to have a good season. So we expect them to be very good, but we are also preparing very well to make sure we are competitive.

"I know that (Rapids head coach) Robin (Fraser) will be prepared, he knows that we will be ready. We're very excited to be playing an intense game and we're excited to play the match against Colorado and we've been working hard to get everybody ready for this game.

"They have a belief right now, a unity, similar to us. We're very united right now, we feel very good about ourselves and we know that they're feeling the same things."

Colorado youngster Cole Bassett has enjoyed an impressive season, scoring five goals and providing four assists, and he highlighted Fraser's impact as the reason behind the Rapids' success.

"Once Robin came in, it kind of just changed the culture in the locker room" Bassett said. "He brought in guys that know how to win, and also guys that are hungry to win. A lot of younger guys, guys from different clubs in MLS, that's what I think just bringing the whole group together has gotten us where we are."

Colorado Rapids - Jonathan Lewis

The goals have been shared around by Colorado this season. Jonathan Lewis has scored seven times, finishing the regular season with a double against Los Angeles FC in a 5-2 win.

Portland Timbers - Sebastian Blanco

Sebastian Blanco's brace against Minnesota United on Sunday was his second in his last three games after recording just two multi-goal performances in his first 137 games in all MLS competitions. Including last year's MLS is Back knockout round, Blanco has seven goals and three assists in his last 11 knockout/playoff matches dating back to the Conference semi-finals in 2018.

- The Rapids are unbeaten in five straight meetings with Portland (W2 D3), including a win and a draw in the two contests this season. Prior to this run, which began in 2019, the Rapids had never gone more than three straight meetings with the Timbers without defeat.

- Colorado have lost seven of their last eight playoff matches (W1) dating back to the 2011 Conference semi-finals, only advancing over the LA Galaxy on penalties in 2016. The Rapids have scored just twice in those eight matches.

- The Rapids have not lost any of their last 16 home matches dating back to a defeat to Austin in their home opener in April (W9 D7). Colorado can tie their second longest home unbeaten run (17 games, including playoffs, from May 2003 to May 2004) in club history.

- Portland's offense has found its groove late in the season, scoring three times in three straight games, a first for the club in its MLS history (including playoffs). Scoring three goals in four straight games in a single season is a rare feat in MLS, last achieved by Toronto, who scored three or more goals in a league record seven straight games in August-September 2017.

- The Rapids finished first in the West for the first time in team history despite not having a 10-goal scorer this season. In fact, the only Rapids player to reach double digits in either goals or assists was Jack Price, who had 12 assists and no goals.

Updated November 24, 2021

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