Rapids squander early lead
COMMERCE CITY – Down to goals in the second half? No problem for the Portland Timbers, who rallied to earn a tie for the third time this season.
“We get frustrated, but we don’t give in,” Portland midfielder Will Johnson said. “The whole time I’m thinking we’re going to win. Not even just tie, but win.”
Johnson scored two goals, including a penalty kick in the 71st minute, and the Portland Timbers rallied from a two-goal second-half deficit to tie the Colorado Rapids 2-2 on Saturday night.
“People will focus on that we haven’t won in four games, but I am focused on the positives,” Portland coach Kaleb Porter said. “We have only lost one game. And we are the comeback kids.”
Johnson scored Portland’s first goal in the 55th minute.
The Timbers (0-1-3) have never won in Colorado, going 0-3-1 in their matches at the Rapids.
Portland continued its trend of allowing the first goal in all four games.
Dillon Powers scored his first career goal for Colorado (0-3-2) in the 18th minute and Hendry Thomas scored on a penalty kick in the 48th.
The tie extended Colorado’s winless streak to start a season to five games. The franchise record is six, 0-5-1 to open the 2003 season.
Goalkeeper Clint Irwin made his second career start, replacing franchise career win and shutout leader, Matt Pickens, who was sidelined with a broken arm.
Colorado coach Oscar Pareja had a beef with the penalty call that led to the tying goal.
“I want to make it clear that the penalty was way out,” Pareja said. “I’m not happy with it.”
The Rapids led 1-0 at halftime, but could have easily led by more. They hit two posts in the fourth minute.
Shane O’Neill’s header rattled off the right post. Tony Cascio ran down the miss and his shot caromed of the left post.
Powers scored when Colorado got the ball on the Portland side of midfield after goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts’ sailed a goalie kick into the east stands. The ball reached Powers 25 yards out in the deep slot and he didn’t hesitate taking a shot that found the back of the net.
“I set my mind on making contact and having a good follow through,” Powers said. “But what does it matter? We didn’t get the goal we needed to win the game.”
Ricketts didn’t seem to pick up the ball until it was past his left hand.
“That was just a great shot,” Ricketts said. “He made the perfect shot.”
The Timbers had one chance at Irwin in the first half. Ben Zemanski sent a shot from 25 yards out that Irwin easily handled with both hands in the 32nd minute.
Colorado was awarded a penalty kick when Cascio was tripped up by Diego Chara as he moved in on Ricketts. Thomas waited for Ricketts to take himself out of position and pushed the ball into the net in the 48th minute.
Portland scored the next two goals. Johnson scored on a header in the 55th minute.
“The most dangerous thing in soccer is as soon as you get one, you are flying,” Johnson said. “Coming right down their throat and the other team can’t handle it.”
Johnson drew Portland even at 2-2 with the penalty kick in the 71st minute. David Horst drew a penalty from Rapids forward Atiba Harris and Johnson cashed in with the tying goal.
“I like what this team has done,” Porter said. “We have battled back from three of the four games and twice we were down two goals.”
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