A Sebastian Blanco penalty kick and second-half brace from Jaroslaw Niezgoda gave the Timbers a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids in Providence Park Saturday night. It marked the Timbers’ first win since their 7-2 rout of Sporting Kansas City on May 14th.
The air was heated, the match was heated, and Colorado’s back line was set ablaze by the Timbers’ attack. In tandem with a fully-packed Providence Park, it truly felt like the Timbers were capital-B Back.
Niezgoda joined Bill Tuiloma as the team’s joint-top scorer, with each man netting five goals in the 2022 season.
The Timbers dominated the first half chance-wise but still conceded a few scary moments and six corner kicks. Santiago Moreno stood out on the right wing, making the right passes and gliding past defenders with ease. Once the Timbers completed their usual wing-switch, though, he was much less effective on the left side.
Cristhian Paredes suffered a non-contact injury in the 20th minute, prompting Eryk Williamson’s first appearance since his hamstring injury against Philadelphia on May 22nd.
Despite constant chaos, the biggest moment of the first half came in stoppage time. Moreno sprinted to touch a ball he had no business reaching, then Colorado goalkeeper William Yarbrough cleaned him out at the edge of the penalty area. Yarbrough, clearly concussed, left the game as the referee awarded a VAR penalty.
Yarbrough’s replacement was the much smaller Abraham Rodriguez, whom Blanco sent the wrong way with his kick from the spot. After a chaotic first 45-plus minutes, the Timbers entered halftime up 1-0.
Colorado's replacement GK is 19yo Homegrown Abraham Rodriguez. He is listed at 5'8" – 165lbs.#RCTID— Charlie Folkestad (@folkestad3) June 26, 2022
Niezgoda’s first goal was off a beautiful ball over the top from Tuiloma. The Polish striker settled the ball with his shoulder/chest (NOT arm/hand, as confirmed by VAR) and smashed it past Rodriguez for a true striker’s goal.
Not even VAR could stop him 😏 pic.twitter.com/cTc9T3XoKB— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) June 26, 2022
He’d find the back of the net again just two minutes later: Williamson recovered the ball and dribbled it into Colorado’s box uncontested, where he fired it into Niezgoda on the doorstep.
He's on fire tonight 🔥 pic.twitter.com/0jP9JbaMt6— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) June 26, 2022
The USMNT-hopeful Williamson had a number of flashy plays on the night — a no-look pass here, a casual spin move there, and some head-juggles sprinkled on top.
A Niezgoda hat trick would have been icing on the cake, but Portland will gladly take the three points and a clean sheet. If they can start stacking wins with another home game against Houston on Wednesday, they could start thinking about a playoff run.
That being said, they have a steep uphill climb. Only time will tell if they can scrap their way into the dance once again.
- Diego Chara received his 100th regular season yellow card in the 21st minute. It is his fifth caution this season.
- Gyasi Zardes struggled, missing plenty of solid chances. He was mostly used as a decoy in buildup, pulling Bill Tuiloma out to the sideline to open up space.
- Tuiloma had a late free kick carom off the base of the post. It would have been his sixth goal this season.