September 1st, 2012 by Kelly McLain
The Portland Timbers exorcised another demon Friday night when they beat the Colorado Rapids 1-0 at JELD-WEN Field. Portland finally won back-to-back matches for the first time this year thanks to a Bright Dike goal and the team’s first clean sheet since May 15th.
Kosuke Kimura’s former team remained the only MLS club the Timbers had played multiple times and yet had not managed to take any points from—until now. “We hadn’t beaten Colorado yet in our MLS existence,” said interim manager Gavin Wilkinson. “It was very, very important that we kept a clean sheet tonight. For Donovan [Ricketts], for the back four to actually try to have something to build off of, and we’ve kept challenging them, but to get a win and for that to be the first time all year, it’s another box we can tick.”
Portland had the slightly better run of play through most of the first period, but overall it was a fairly even first 45, that is until the final two minutes of the half when the Timbers sprung to life. Sandwiched by chances from Franck Songo’o and Darlington Nagbe that could easily have added to the scoring total, Dike notched his second goal in three games courtesy of a well-placed Sal Zizzo cross in the 45th minute.
Portland (7-13-6, 27pts.) didn’t look quite as composed and confident in the second half, particularly after Eric Alexander and Rodney Wallace came in for Darlington Nagbe and Franck Songo’o in the 74th and 78th minutes, but they hung on despite a couple of decent looks from Colorado in the waning minutes.
“I think the second half, for me, was definitely not the way we wanted to play,” Wilkinson said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to win.”
The Timbers hopped over the Rapids in the standings and no longer occupy the bottom spot in the Western Conference table. The two sides will meet again next Wednesday in Denver.