Rapids hope to right ship vs. surging Timbers

The Colorado Rapids hired Anthony Hudson as head coach hoping the New Zealander would shepherd the squad to the top tier of the MLS Western Conference standings.

Things have not worked out that way thus for the Hudson and the Rapids, who are mired in a five-match losing streak after a 4-0 loss at New York City FC last week.

Instead of battling for a playoff position in the Western Conference the Rapids (2-6-2) are sitting last in the standings heading into Saturday’s meeting with the surging Portland Timbers at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Snapping the losing streak will not be easy since Portland is on a five-game winning streak.

The losses have not eaten into Hudson’s confidence heading into the match.

“It starts with us. We have to come in and be upbeat,” Hudson told Altitude Radio earlier this week. “We are going to learn from the past, but we certainly are not going to dwell on it. The focus and attention now is on Saturday. The bottom line is that we have to stick together, play as a team and fight for each other.”

Colorado has been outscored 12-2 since a 2-0 home win over Toronto on April 14.

Conversely, the Timbers (5-3-2) have come on after failing to record a victory in their first five matches. Portland s last loss, a 3-2 road setback to Orlando City, came on April 8.

Since falling to 0-3-2 the Timbers have reeled off a franchise record five in a row, three by shutout, and have climbed to third in the Western Conference.

It is safe to say they are feeling confident heading into Saturday night’s matchup in Commerce City, Colo.

“I said from the beginning one of the things that was our priority was to build mentality and to make sure we play as a unit,” Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said on the MLS website. “We’ve been seeing weekend after weekend that that is what the guys are doing. When there’s that belief that we can work together, that we can defend together, that we can attack at some moments and be able to get that goal that can give us the three points, that belief comes with the mentality we’ve been talking about.”

Portland has played through some adversity as well.

In the 2-1 win over LAFC on last Saturday 19, defenseman Liam Ridgewell came out with a quad injury just six minutes into the match and has been ruled out for Saturday’s match.

The Rapids will need every advantage they can get in trying to reverse their fortunes and avoid a sixth straight loss. The club record for losses in a row is seven, set in 2014.

“Obviously we’ve been on quite a tough stretch now so that’s finally over and we’re back at home now,” Colorado defender Deklan Wynne told the Rapids website after last week’s loss. “We have to make that a fortress again and get some points in the next few games.”