September 9, 2018 / 4:53 AM / 2 months ago

Surging Timbers blow past reeling Rapids

Jeremy Ebobisse and Diego Valeri scored as the Portland Timbers defeated the visiting Colorado Rapids 2-0 Saturday night.

The Timbers (12-7-8, 44 points) continued their up-and-down MLS season.

Portland had a 15-match unbeaten run, followed by a four-game losing streak. The Timbers improved to 2-0-1 since snapping the skid.

The Rapids (6-15-6, 24 points) suffered their second straight loss.

Ebobisse, who had played just eight minutes this season entering Saturday, opened the scoring just before the half, in the 45th minute.

Portland’s Sebastian Blanco won a 50-50 ball from a Colorado defender on the right wing and slotted a pass through the middle for Ebobisse, who made a slide to beat goalkeeper Tim Howard to the ball and poked a left-footed shot into the net.

Ebobisse, a 21-year-old who was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, was making just his second appearance of the season and his first start. He had one goal and three assists in 14 games as a rookie last year.

Valeri, the league’s reigning MVP, scored his team-leading 10th of the season in the 65th minute, also off an assist from Blanco.

After a Colorado turnover near midfield, Blanco dribbled down the left wing all the way to the touchline and made a swift left-footed cross past Howard and directly to Valeri, who headed the ball into an open net from less than two yards out.

Goalkeeper Steve Clark, making his first start for the Timbers in place of the injured Jeff Attinella, earned the shutout. Clark, claimed off waivers from D.C. United in mid-August, made three saves.

Clark’s most impressive stop came in the 62nd minute, when he leaped to knock a 35-yard shot from Colorado’s Giles Barnes over the crossbar. The ball appeared headed for the upper right corner of the net.

Howard made six saves for the Rapids, keeping them in the game early. He was forced to make lunging stops on shots by Blanco and Valeri in the game’s opening five minutes.

—Field Level Media

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