Timbers-Rapids Preview

Timbers-Rapids Preview

Published Mar. 21, 2014 10:29 a.m. ET

The Portland Timbers are still seeking their first win despite getting another clutch goal from Gaston Fernandez last weekend.

Picking up three points could prove difficult in Colorado, where they've never tasted victory.

Fernandez and Portland try to spoil Colorado's home opener when these Western Conference foes meet Saturday.

The Timbers (0-0-2) found themselves on the verge of defeat in their first game March 8 before escaping with a 1-all draw against Philadelphia thanks to Fernandez's header in stoppage time. Fernandez came up with another equalizer Sunday, scoring in the 79th minute of a 1-all draw against Chicago.


"A lot of people are forgetting that he's only been in this country a couple of months. And it takes guys time to settle in and get comfortable in this league," coach Caleb Porter said of the Argentine forward, who joined the club earlier this year.

"He's one of these guys who gets himself in good spots. He's not the biggest, but he's smart and he gets himself around the goal. Goal scorers, the ball seems to find them. And that's twice now where the ball has found him in good spots."

While goals haven't been easy to come by, Porter isn't too concerned as the Timbers have outshot their opponents 36-24.

"We've come from behind to get a point in both games," he said. "We're playing well. That, for me, is the biggest positive. If we were the team that had less possession and fewer shots, I'd be worried because those are things that are much tougher to change. ... (We) still need to finish better. No doubt we will."

The Timbers are 3-1-1 in their last five matchups against the Rapids after posting back-to-back wins by a combined 4-0 margin. They've had a much harder time in Colorado, going 0-3-1 while getting outscored 11-3.

The Rapids kicked off their season with a 1-all draw at New York last Saturday. Vicente Sanchez tied the score on a penalty kick in the 72rd minute, giving Colorado a point in Pablo Mastroeni's coaching debut.

"To say I wasn't on the edge of my seat, if not out of it, would be an understatement," said Mastroeni, who played 11-plus seasons with the Rapids. "That's the beauty of the game. It can all come down to the last minute, the last second, that's why it's exciting."

Colorado had 18 shots to the Red Bulls' 11, including six on goal.

"I thought we had some very good chances, it was a pretty evenly matched game and the effort and the desire that the team showed was what stands out most to me," captain Drew Moor told the Rapids' official website. "A great way to start off the season."

Rookie John Berner made one save in his MLS debut, and he could play a big role again with Clint Irwin injured and Matt Pickens waived Thursday after five seasons with the club.

Colorado went 6-0-3 in its previous nine home openers before falling 2-1 to Philadelphia last season.